The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Children & prayer

Children are open to a robust prayer life

With short attention spans, curiosity stretching beyond the universe and boundless energy levels, children — from mere babes to questing preteens — have all the attributes needed for a robust prayer life: a sense of wonder unfettered by inhibitions.

Michael D. Watson<BR><BR>Jack Erickson,
Jack Erickson, 2 (left); his grandma Jane Oppermann; and his 4-year-old sister, Lily, enjoy mealtime prayer that’s a “whole-body experience.”
Our job as parents, grandparents, family and friends is to encourage children’s natural relationships with God and model that spirit of wonder in our faith lives. The challenge for us world-weary adults is to remain open and attentive so we can nurture these budding moments of grace.

“I think all human beings are hardwired to be aware of something beyond self, but children haven’t been socialized to think that is not acceptable and possible,” said Mary E. Hess, associate professor of educational leadership at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. “They have big questions and they’re willing to ask them. And each answer leads to another why.”

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Embracing diversity