Scripture: Psalm 9
Key verses: (1-2)
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Reflection: There’s a file I’ve kept in my office, with prayers in it. Not prayers I wrote. And not prayers that other pastors have written, or that came from books or official church liturgies. No, these are prayers that the children of the Weekday School have written over the years. In our weekly chapel time, the 3, 4 and 5 year-olds gather to worship God. We tell a Bible story, sing enthusiastically, and we pray. We learn that prayer is talking to God, and we practice getting still and quiet so we can talk and listen to God, and our neighbor sitting beside us can too.
The teachers have asked the children before they arrive at chapel what they’d like to pray about. Teachers write the child’s name, and their prayer on a paper, and then share it with me. Most of our prayers are about things for which we are thankful. We pray some of these aloud, and then the children help me tell God “thanks.” Always we give thanks for moms and dads, for brothers and sisters and new babies. We regularly give thanks for our pets, and our teachers. Most weeks someone is thankful for God and for Jesus, and for the whole wide world.
I am amazed at the development of the way children pray. They begin by naming those closest to them. They can get very specific about “things” that make them say thanks: toys, Jedis, firetrucks, dress up, Legos, baseball, butterflies, grilled cheese. They learn to give thanks for people around them: family, specific friends, teachers and community helpers. As they grow they learn to pray for the needs that others have: a teacher who is sick, a friend with a broken arm, people who need food. (I won’t put the prayer here that the Panthers win the Super Bowl, but that gets prayed regularly too.)
Our youngest disciples know that God hears our prayers, and wants us to give thanks for specific blessings, and share our particular needs. May we all continue to grow in our prayers, knowing that God is listening.
Prayer: God, we are thankful for many things. For all the particular blessings in our lives. For specific people who help us learn and grow and love us. We lift up those who are in need. We thank you for the prayers of children, and that you hear us all when we pray. We’d all like to tell you God, “thanks.” Amen
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].