High River United Church of High River, Alberta


What's the Point of Prayer? Why Teach our Kids to Pray?

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What is the point of prayer?  Why spend time in prayer? Why teach my children to pray?  Those are key questions that I am pondering these days.


I believe in prayer.  I believe that prayer is essential to my living.  But I think that there are many false assumptions made about prayer.  First of all, I don’t believe that just because I pray for something, as good and wonderful as that thing might be (like the healing of a loved one), that I am going to get what I pray for.  God is not my servant.  I don’t present God with my daily to-do list and expect that it will happen by the next day or even the next week or month.  Neither is God my Santa Claus, there to provide for my every whim.  Prayer engages me with something much greater than myself – a mystery that I can not control or explain.


Prayer for me is entering into a relationship.  I can no more expect to have a good relationship with God that I can expect to have a good relationship with my spouse and family if I spend no time in that relationship.  Prayer is spending time with God.  Prayer is sitting in God’s presence, resting in God’s presence, sharing and receiving, speaking and listening.  It is through this engagement that my spirit grows, heals, and is nurtured.  And it takes time.  I love what the original Martin Luther (who started the Protestant Reformation) said:  “I have so much to do today that I must spend the first 3 hours in prayer.”  Our society and schedules would have a hard time making room for three hours of prayer in the midst of work, family care, appointments, etc. but the point is well taken.  A relationship grows when time is spent together, whether that relationship is with God or with another person.  So I spend time in prayer in order to grow in my relationship with God. 


I believe that we and our children need prayer so much in our society today.  We live in a stressed out society.  The demands I see put upon people are huge.  The demands I see people put upon themselves are huge.  I see anxiety on the rise among our young people.  The expectations at school and in extra-curricular activities just keep growing.  The pressure to get into a good university with good marks is great.  Yet, I see this anxiety and stress even down to pre-schoolers.    And I think prayer is an answer – a key answer.


It is like we have one of the best kept secrets.  There is all that stress out there – and we have prayer in here.  I believe that we need to find ways to practice prayer and to teach our children to practice prayer.  We need to model for our children, taking time to pray.  We need to say, “I’m going to pray before doing anything.” 


We need to teach our kids that prayer is about listening and paying attention to what God has to share with us.  We need to teach kids the meditative type of prayer, in which they can let go of worries and fears and find a place of rest in God.


There are days when I feel as if we have failed as a church because we haven’t taught the gift of prayer and we haven’t shared it with the many people out there who are stressed out and anxious.  We’ve treated prayer as another task to do rather than a relationship in which we engage.  We’ve made prayer about getting more money, bigger jets, or a pony, rather than about allowing God to work in and through us in prayer. 


I love to pray.  I hope you do, too!  Now let’s start sharing that love of prayer with our children and with others.  It is sort of awkward.  We don’t want to be discounted or made fun of.  But I think we’ve kept prayer a secret for too long! It is time to share the secret of prayer with those who long for a way to release their worries, fears and stress.


Prayer is a powerful, mysterious, stress-relieving gift.  So let us pray!

March 27, 2019                                    ©Susan Lukey 2019

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