Nothing warms my heart more than watching our youth pastor gathering his flock at the front of our church for story time and prayer. The platform comes to life with the flutter of waving hands signalling their parents until they have made eye contact. Then, for the next fifteen minutes, those same parents pray fervently that the good Lord will filter whatever passes through their children's lips!
The Good Shepherd gathering His children for prayers is a tradition that began with Christ.
Matthew 19:13-14 – Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." (ESV)
Children are the most precious resource of the church. They keep it alive and vibrant — all of them contributing their God-given gifts to benefit the entire congregation. Their most endearing attribute is their ability to wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Such was the case one unforgettable Sunday when our pastor asked his growing brood, "Boys and girls, where can we pray?" One by one, little hands raised, replying in bed or at mealtime, and so on. Then, ever so slowly, a pudgy wee hand rose high from the back row, and with a sheepish smile came the answer, "Why, pastor, you can even pray on the toilet!" A hush fell over a stunned congregation as our good-natured leader smiled and agreed, "Yes, Johnny, you are right."
Our Lord wants us to approach Him with the same eagerness, trust, and vulnerability that Johnny exhibited, to pray wearing our hearts on our sleeves, with nothing hidden. Pray whole-heartedly. "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Ephesians 6:18a NIV)
The problem that we face in our desire to be vulnerable with God is that if we have had our heart broken in the past, our first reaction might be to build a wall around it. Perhaps we have been deeply disappointed that the Lord did not answer a crucial prayer in the way that we had hoped. Our Lord wants us to have a rich, full relationship with Him, beginning with prayer. Even though we may feel defeated, God is closer than we realize. He is always with us and can heal our hearts. The key to mending our hearts is to give them to the Lord.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, our prayer is that deep inside our hearts and minds, You will work to renew and refresh them every day. Thank You for watching over our precious little ones, and for Your love, faithfulness, and grace. Father, may we never grow too old or too wise in our own eyes to be taught. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Rejoice And Be Glad" (Lyrics)