Pray or Play? Agendas Can Be Changed

“Grandma is praying and not playing.” A few weeks ago, those words were shared by our granddaughter to her parents. Being a grandma is so much fun, but sometimes playing is not on the agenda when prayer is necessary.

Our granddaughter and her mom and dad had come to our house the evening before my husband’s reverse shoulder replacement surgery. Our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter wanted to spend some time with us before his surgery. We were enjoying the evening and spending time as a family, until my husband’s phone rang. Our good friends whom we had not talked to in a while learned about my husband’s surgery and called to pray with us.

At the time, I was playing with our granddaughter upstairs in my office, reading her some stories and playing a game. Play was the priority and prayer was not on her agenda. Little did we both know that our priority would change immediately when prayer became the focus and play was put to the side.

Her priority was interrupted and frustration was expressed at that moment. She listened for a bit to our phone conversation and prayer. As the prayer continued, she realized that her playtime had come to an end.

How many times have you stopped everything to pray when you learn of a need? In this case, hesitation was not a factor because prayer was the priority. My heart rejoiced when I heard our granddaughter’s little voice say “grandma is praying and not playing.” What God revealed to me at that moment was she knew that prayer had become my priority.

Children learn best by the examples of their parents, but a greater impression is left upon the heart of a child from a grandparent. Watching grandma and/or grandpa pray alone or together leaves a lasting impact on a child at most any age. Children watch and observe and act according to what they see, learn, and embrace. If prayer is modeled at home, then it becomes natural when a child observes it somewhere else.

Praying to God at home demonstrates to a child that there is a desire to call upon the highest power and connect with our creator. Teaching children to submit to the authority of God our Father and His wisdom, power, and strength will encourage them to live according to a Christian worldview. As they embrace the power and source that will give them all that they need as they walk through the journey of life, they can have the peace and strength that only He gives as they face challenges. “Do not be anxious for anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your request to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.” Philippians 4:6-7 NET

God has given us the power of prayer to communicate with Him, to know Him intimately, and to learn as we trust Him. If we want our children to know and experience Him on an intimate level, then prayer should be a priority at home. Prayer should be modeled in the home as a part of life and should be demonstrated by parents in every aspect of their life within the family. Going to prayer with all of our needs should be a regular spiritual disciple taught in the home.

Teaching children to pray and allowing them to participate in prayer demonstrates the need to engage and depend on God, rather than one’s self. As they embrace and spend time with God, they will learn that He is what they need for all of life’s circumstances. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NET

Prayer is a gift from God. He gave us the ability to connect with Him, the Almighty, the Holy of Holies, through Jesus Christ. We need Him and our children need Him. Calling out to God demonstrates our need and our desire to have that relationship with Him. Prayer gives us a deeper connection with God as He reveals His character and His love to us. If we believe that our lives depend on Him, then prayer should be of the upmost priority in our lives and that it why it is so important to teach our children to pray.

“Yes…grandma is praying instead of playing!” May our children from generation to generation have the desire to love the Lord with all of their heart, and all their soul, and with all their mind! Matthew 22:36 NET

Lisa Goodyear holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education, with a focus in Children's Ministry, from Dallas Theological Seminary. She has over twenty-eight years of local children's ministry, as well as an extensive background in early childhood education and international ministry to children. Currently, she is serving with the family/children’s ministry in her local church in Shawnee, Kansas. Lisa's passion is to see children from every nation, tongue, and tribe trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and grow in their relationship with Him. She is married to Rolla and they have two grown children and three grandchildren and a little Yorkie, Romeo. Lisa lives in Olathe, Kansas.

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