By Beth Pinyerd
Today, May 6, is recognized as National Day of Prayer. This is always observed on the first Thursday of May. This is when our nation turns to God in prayer and love. This is the most powerful action and work we can do right now between the young and old. Prayer brings us all together. Be on the lookout at how our community is celebrating National Day of Prayer.
We are made for prayer. If we go back to the very beginning, we see that prayer and communication with God has always been central. The Bible clearly describes from God the benefits of prayer. In personal growth, young children love to bow their little heads and pray. The process of prayer comes naturally to children. They understand that God is love and that love is unselfish. God enables young hearts to grow in understanding, wisdom and the fullness of God.
Psalm 34:4-5 — “I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Young fears may seem silly at times, but they are real to their little minds. By giving our young children the resource of prayer, we provide them with strength, courage and wisdom to face this world. Too, by praying with our children, we receive this same encouragement, strength and joy.
Matthew 7:9-11 — “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.” Young children seem to understand that God will grant what they need. Children are so literal in their understanding of this. Young children become a model for adults. Children realize that all they need to do is ask for His provision. God welcomes little children. In Mark 10:14 — When Jesus saw that the disciples were keeping the children away, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as them.” God doesn’t shun children, nor wait until they are older, wiser or more important. He created people to have a relationship with Him from childhood.
Psalm 57:2 — “I cry out to God the Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.” God has a purpose for each of us. He promises to fulfill that purpose when we ask. Young children love and have so much fun looking at themselves in the mirror. Making happy faces, funny faces, sad faces and just normal faces. Psalm 139:14 — “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Adults and children have a purpose and God fulfills His purpose when we ask.
One conviction that God has quietly laid on this teacher’s heart is when I am stopped behind or to the side of a school bus is to pray for the needs of each child I see getting on or off the school bus. Their teachers and parents are in my prayers too. I am so very thankful for the many years of teaching experiences God has given me so I can discern, by gentle, Godly guidance, the needs of children that I see and meet. Prayers are offered up for troubled and disturbed children; children with low self esteem who feel rejection; for quiet children and outgoing children; for children with learning challenges; handicapped children; for the bright child who has enthusiasm for learning; for the child who does not have enthusiasm for learning and seems unmotivated; for a child who has just moved into the community and is new at their school. The greatest gift a community can give toward its future is to pray for children.
One prayer activity that is so very simple for children and adults is the Five Finger Prayer, written by Tony Kummer that is used daily in Christian literature in joining the young and old in times of prayer. Each day, in meeting the intercessory needs of others, we use the thumb for praying for family and friends, the pointing finger for leaders and teachers, the tall finger for government and authority, the ring finger, which is the weakest finger, is to remind us to pray for people who are weak and sick, and the little finger, for ourselves and our needs. This gives us a gentle reminder of who to pray for. Too, with children and families is to journal prayers. Write down the prayer request then write down or even draw a picture when the prayer is answered. This builds faith.
One reminder that we can remind ourselves of as well as our young children is that sometimes adults seem ever so busy to listen to them. It seems that way at times to young children. They truly begin to understand when we come together, the young and old, to pray that our Heavenly Father always has time to listen to us. His phone line is never too busy, he doesn’t delete our e-mails or texts, God always leans in to listen to our prayers. Children who are entrusted in parents’ and teachers’ care to teach and nurture by God seem to understand that God does hear their prayers.
A gentle reminder, this coming Sunday, we celebrate the lives of those we call mother. Mother hold a special place in our hearts, by blood or choice. On this upcoming Mother’s Day the greatest gift you could extend to mothers is to pray for them and to let them know that you are praying for them. Happy Mother’s Day!