Wednesday, March 16

Praying for Japan

Thank you to those of you who left comments on last week's post Prayer with Children.  I would love this to be an ongoing conversation where we can dialog on living prayerfully with children.  Please feel free to leave thoughts on praying with children or ideas for playful and prayerful spaces in the comments again today!

I began reading Rebecca Nye's book Children's Spirituality today and, from what I've read so far, I would highly recommend it.  I skipped ahead to her section on prayer and loved what she had to say.  I agree whole-heartedly with her views of spirituality and prayer.

I found this bit on Trust and prayer so encouraging-
Trust plays a key role in providing conditions that nurture children's prayer life.  It is about trusting that a child may be praying even if we can't be sure that this is happening.  Just as adults, sometimes, can give the outaward signs of praying even though little may really be going on inside, children can give the outward signs of not praying, according to our criteria, but perhaps a lot is going on inside. 
So we need to take a generous, trusting attitude to what may constitute prayerful activity for children.  It may look as if a child is just doodling or idly rolling balls of play dough or gazing blankly out of the window (rather than producing a facsimile drawing of the Bible story or listening attentively to us) but in these moments God and the child may be in deep communion.  And so it is important to treat what they are up to with the respect with which we'd treat someone deep in prayer and avoid disturbing or interrogating them. (pg 69)

This strengthened my desire to create spaces and places that are playfully prayerful.  Never pressing my children to pray in any certain way, but creating space to reflect on the things they are hearing about and experiencing prayerfully (and playfully).

Monday I got out our cloth map (my mom found the fabric and made this map and it is one our favorite 'toys'/resources) and an electric candle.  I let Jonah place the candle by Japan and I said a prayer for the people of Japan and we talked about what is happening there.  We had let Jonah watch a video of the wave coming (one we had watched before hand and deemed appropriate/ not too scary) and had talked about what was happening over the weekend, so he had lots of thoughts.  I then simply prayed for the children who saw the wave and might be scared.

Jonah then moved the candle around the map and we prayed for some family and friends around the globe.  He loves working with the map and ran to tell Daddy about how we prayed with the map when Daddy arrived home.  Not everything we do is met with such enthusiasm, which is fine, but it is lovely when he is so excited about something we have done together.


Jo said...

Hello, I have been reading your blog for a little while now. My kids are older ( 12,10 and 8) but I have enjoyed your thoughts and inspiration- particularly your idea to pray for Japan - we will do something similar on Friday night. Teaching kids to pray remains a challenge even as they get older! We often do a simple examen around the dinner table asking what was the best and the worst of everyones day - my family really enjoys this. The next step I guess would be to ask where was God in your day but we have not got there yet.

Watkins said...

Jo, thanks for your comment. It is lovely to think that simply checking-in with each other and being intentional about examen is a really great way to live prayerfully as a family. This is something I'll be thinking more about. Thanks.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What a wonderful way to teach him about prayer!