We sat down to dinner with my step-son and his family. As we began to say grace we noticed 22-month old Samantha with her hands folded. Her parents take her to church and Sunday school and pray with her during the week but were surprised to see her praying without being prompted. The precious little angel and her sincerity warmed all of our hearts.
Taking the time in our busy lives to, at the very least, pray with our children before meals and bedtime and at Sunday Mass, promotes the understanding that conversing with God is an integral element of our life. We honor, give thanks, ask for forgiveness, and make requests to our loving Father all day, every day.
If a child learns how to pray right from the beginning it will be a natural part of their life. God will be their go-to counselor, guide, and source of love and comfort. Every aspect of their life will be enriched because of their relationship with the Lord.
Jesus encouraged parents to send their children to him. When they brought the children to Jesus for a blessing the disciples wanted to shoo them away but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Mathew 19:14).
Saint Theodora understood that knowing God is the most important lesson to teach children. She left her family, friends, and country to educate and evangelize children. She, and so many missionaries, followed the call to bring knowledge of God and God’s love to others at great personal sacrifice.
As our children grow, they will resist being force-fed articles of faith, but they always will be aware of how we act and speak. Good or bad, they will imitate what we do more so than what we tell them to do.
Samantha prayed because we prayed. Allow your children to see the importance of prayer and your relationship with God.
(Photo of Samantha used with her parents’ permission.)
©2013, Mary K. Doyle