And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-3ESV)

My granddaughter lives with us. I am thankful for that because all my other grands live at least 600 miles away. I have loved watching her grow and especially how my daughter has trained her in the ways of the Lord. When she was four, she told us to hold hands while she sang our dinner prayer:

“God our Father, God our Father.
We thank You, We thank You.
For our many blessings, For our many blessings.

We thank You, We thank You.”
(The tune: Where is Thumbkin)

This is such a beautiful way for a child to learn to pray.

When she turned five years old her Momma told her she could still sing her prayer, but then she needed to pray from her heart.

“But how do I do that?” She said.

“Just pray what ever is in your heart.”  

We held hands while she sang. An uncertain radiance filled her face as she spoke one of the shortest and sweetest prayers I have ever heard. It was, indeed, from her heart.

When she was six, the two of us planted a blackberry bush in our backyard.

 I sat in my garden chair and said, “We need to pray over our blackberry bush.”

MacKenzie chuckled, “That’s just silly, Papa. ”

“No its not, God wants us to pray over everything in our life, including our garden. If we pray over our blackberry bush He will prosper it and bring us hundreds of . . .”

I hadn’t finished explaining prayer when she took my hand in hers, wrapped her arm around my shoulder and began to pray. She thanked God for our blackberry bush and asked him to bring us a big crop next year. She thanked him for our backyard, and even the birds (which she is afraid of). My heart was overjoyed when her last words were, “Thank you for Papa, I love him so much!” After that, my prayer seemed inadequate.

I hadn’t finished explaining prayer when she took my hand in hers, wrapped her arm around my shoulder and began to pray. She thanked God for our blackberry bush and asked him to bring us a big crop next year. She thanked him for our backyard, and even the birds (which she is afraid of). My heart was overjoyed when her last words were, “Thank you for Papa, I love him so much!” After that, my prayer seemed inadequate.

1. In Matthew 18:2-3 we see something most preachers over look. When Jesus calls the child to him “… he put him in the midst of them.

Ellicott’s Commentary tells us that we see this act as, “…a recognition of the special beauty of childhood, a tender love for their gracious trust and freedom (from worldly influence). It is a picture of Christ’s tenderness and human love.”

Why not put our children and grandchildren in the midst of us when we study God’s word, when talking spiritual things, and especially when we pray.

  • Position them in a place of prominence where they will hear the importance of our relationship with God in our prayer life. Thank God for their presence.
  • Recognize their beauty, their innocence, and their teachable spirits.
  • Including them in prayer enables instruction on how and what to pray for. It also allows them a moment to share what is on their heart.           

2. We make them important by asking them to participate in our spiritual life.  

They are not afraid because they are with you, grandpa. Their childlike spirit brings trust and a willingness to participate in whatever you share. It is spending quality time with our grands.

3.  Their prayer helps us understand how to pray from our heart.

  • If you have not learned how to pray, start with a childlike spirit. Pray a short and concise prayer from your heart.
  • God does not expect beautiful well-worded prayers. He expects only your heart.

4. Through the eyes of your grandchild, you witness the awe and wonder of God.  

  • Our children are pure and innocent. They don’t complicate prayer. They ask and receive, believing with an open heart.
  • Listening to our grandchildren pray will teach us to pray with a renewed spirit reminding us to claim the promises of God.
  • In this renewal we rediscover purity, innocence, and uncomplicated petitions to God.

Not only are we teaching them about God and His love for them, they are teaching us to pray, if we will only listen.

Now, go plant something with your grandchild!