Preschool-aged children are my favorite. I know I am supposed to love all the kids equally, but I just can’t help preferring the honest and clueless 3-to-5-year-olds. They are excited to learn about almost any topic, and then will tell you about the time their brother peed in the backyard. They don’t care if you are a cashier or if you are a brain surgeon, they just want you to listen when they talk to you and play with them.
On Sundays, I get to spend time with all the kids from 5th grade down to preschool, and most weeks I teach the preschoolers during 2nd and 3rd services. One thing we do between the Bible story and craft time is eat a little snack. This is a preschool necessity. It is a way to their hearts via their stomach. But before eating the handful of crackers, we pray.
No matter how discombobulated my day or week has been, this makes it worth it. I call on one eager child to pray for our snack, and then another, and another, until almost everyone has prayed. Not because I make everyone pray, but because they want to! It is part of their phase of life, where they all want to do what the other is doing. So, I take advantage of it and encourage them all to pray as long as they want. Many of them will ask for help and will echo some simple lines I feed them. Some of the kids will have a long prayer where they list everyone they know and all their animals. One sweet boy lists his family, saying, ‘God bless mom, God bless Poppa’ etc. and always says ‘God bless God.’ Another boy reminds us to say, ‘In Jesus Name’ at the end of our prayers. One girl prays so quietly that I only know that she is done when her lips stop moving. Another girl tries to get the friends sitting next to her to hold her hands. I love all of it! I am so grateful for the privilege of spending this time with them and seeing them grow and mature one month to the next.
Try doing this with 2nd graders, 5th graders, 8th graders, 25-year-olds, 41-year-olds . . . It is usually like pulling teeth to get one person to pray. I am guilty of this when I am with adults, but the kids bring out the best in me (most of the time). Do I have a point here? Essentially, I wish more of us were like the little 3, 4 and 5-year-olds, eager and willing to pray together. Not embarrassed to ask for help with things, especially spiritual matters.