Prayer Lessons We Learn From Our Children

Probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about prayer, I learned from my oldest son, Jordan, when he was about 9 years old. He was attending Children’s Church where the leader announced that they were having a contest that month.  The winner would receive a brand new DVD player and a gift card to buy a DVD.  Jordan was beyond excited about this!  We were one of the few families that did not have a DVD player yet in our household.  He wanted this….BAD!

He came home and asked me to pray with him that God would help him win this DVD player.  He prayed for this every single day.  However, Jordan didn’t just pray, he went to work.  The terms of this contest were stated that every Sunday you came to Children’s Church your name would be put into the drawing for the DVD player.  You could also increase your chances by bringing your friends.  Your name would be entered for every friend you brought that month, as well. Jordan made sure he was in Children’s Church every single week.  However, he didn’t stop there.  Within that month, Jordan brought over 20 friends to church.

We arrived at church on the day of the drawing.  Before we got out of the car, Jordan asked me to pray with him one more time that he would win.   Before I prayed with him, I gave in to my motherly ways.  I wanted to guard him from possible disappointment.    I remember telling him that I was proud of him that he had worked so hard but that he might not win.  Many kids were hoping for the same chance.  I celebrated him for bringing all his friends to learn about Jesus and told him that was the ultimate win, etc., etc.  I wanted him to be prepared for the possibility that he wasn’t going to come home with that DVD player.  However, my 9-year-old son looked at me with such conviction and said, “No, Mom.  I’m not just praying, I’m believing!  Only say positive things about it.”    

Well, okay, then. I prayed with Jordan one more time and took him to Children’s Church. I was resigned to the fact that after church I would be having the conversation that God always answers our prayers but sometimes he says no or wait.  

When Children’s Church was over, I went to pick him up with a sinking feeling in my stomach.  However, I was met with a son who was beaming from ear to ear as he ran toward me holding a brand new DVD player and a gift card to buy a DVD.  He was overjoyed with excitement as he exclaimed, “See, Mom, God saw that I really believed!”

As I look back at this powerful lesson, I can’t help but think how many amazing things I have missed out on due to empty prayers.  Prayers that were just words.  Prayers full of “hope” but not “BELIEF.”  Prayers that didn’t have any conviction behind them.   Jesus said in his very own words, “…Have faith in God.  I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.  But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.  I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-24 (NLT)

There is something to be said about childlike faith.  As adults, we tend to complicate things by talking ourselves out of God’s blessings.  Yes, sometimes God says “no” and “wait.”  Yes, sometimes the answer doesn’t always look the way we think it should look.  BUT…are we truly BELIEVING?  Are we putting action behind our belief?  Is there doubt in our hearts?  Are we speaking life over what we believe?  Don’t just pray…believe!  

—Pastor Debbie Rhoads