The other night at church I quietly asked Cylas to come pray with me, which isn’t unusual. We pray together a lot. But that night he looked at me and said with exasperation, “But, I don’t know how to pray!” I stared at him, a little disbelieving. Like, “how can this be?” We pray every night, I whisper to him truths of the word of God, we pray at church together and I have him sit next to me so he can hear my words…how does he not know how to pray?
Maybe other children follow along blindly doing whatever they’re told, but Cylas doesn’t. He needs to understand what he’s doing and why. He doesn’t sit open-mouthed and then repeat like a parrot. I should have known better than to think that he would *know how to pray*. Most recently I taught him a little prayer for his dreams. He asked me to teach him. So, he has one little prayer under his belt. It was a specific prayer for one thing, to help him not get stuck in his dreams. *long story* But bottom line, for him, prayer has to have a point, it has to have a focus, no fluff, just a bottom line.
Ok, so now what do I do?
I see people who raise their children with religion, without religion, indifferent to religion, hatred for religion…all different ways. I see kids who were raised in religion and grow up hating it, feeling trapped, or forced. My heart goes out to those situations, because no child should ever feel that way. But however you all choose to raise your children is up to you, but this is the path we are taking.
I am a disciple of Christ. I follow his word and every day is a new day to learn more about him and his ways. It’s my duty as Cy’s parent to teach him what I know…whatever that may be. I want him to grow to love God on his own, but he’ll never know if he doesn’t see my love for God, my love for prayer or my love for bible reading. If my household is indifferent to the ways of God, then he will be too. If my household goes to church but is tumultuous once we return from church, most likely he’ll associate all of that with God and start asking, “why God? Why!? If you are love, if you are kindness, why is my life like this?” Yes, it’s true. *smile* I speak from experience.
So, for now, prayer is something papa and mama do and Cylas is learning to appreciate it and to understand its importance. I want that both of our children grow to love God from the deepest part of their soul, NOT because I told them ,or a preacher told them , but because THEY know for themselves. Memorizing a bunch of scriptures and calling it a day isn’t going to work…understand the principles behind each of those scriptures is the key.
Cylas will learn how to pray, I’m sure. He’ll figure it out. I’m ready for all of his questions, to show him the importance of prayer and the parts of prayer, but for now, my five-year-old doesn’t know how to pray — and I have to wait.