"Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But then Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." - Mark 10:13-14
Never Too Young to Pray
I find it atrocious when I look around church on Sundays and see the youth sitting around, drawing, reading magazines or playing video games. Children who are old enough to pay attention to the sermon come to Church with dolls and teddybears. I understand if it is for the purpose of keeping an infant or a toddler entertained but an older child should know to pay attention.
I've realized that some adults believe it's best to leave children and let them do whatever they want during service. It makes no difference to them whether they pay attention or not because, after all "they're only children. They don't understand all this spiritual stuff." Or how about, "prayer and all this other religious mumbo-jumbo is too deep for them"?
Mark 10:13-14 clearly shows that Jesus wants the children to pray. Jesus wants the children to communicate with him.
Old Enough To Understand
How old is old enough? Any age is old enough to pray. As long as a child has a general understanding of God and that praying is speaking to God, they're ready to pray. And they're certainly ready to listen to a sermon or at least to a Sunday school lesson.
Children don't need to possess a thorough theological or philosophical understanding of God and of Heaven. They simply need to understand that there's a Heaven (the place where God lives) and a Hell (the place where Satan lives). They will know that Satan is the bad guy and God is the good guy.
It's children's innocence, and--for those who have a general understanding--their genuine love for Jesus that makes Him desire their prayers. The prayers of children reach places that the prayers of adults cannot reach.
Any age is old enough to understand. A two-year-old can have an understanding of God and pray to Him.
Traditional Children's Prayers
God in Heaven hear my prayer ,
keep me in Thy loving care.
Be my guide in all I do,
Bless all those who love me too.
Remember this prayer? I'm sure that most of you Christians out there have said this prayer as a child or perhaps something similar to this prayer. How about:
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee.
As children, we are taught these prayers by our parents, older siblings, other relatives and Sunday school teachers. Reciting these prayers serve as a guideline for when we feel we're ready to pray on our own. Prayers from direct Bible passages such as The Lord's Prayer (Matt 6:9-13) or Psalms 23 are the foundations of teaching children how to pray.
Some parents, while they do not actively "teach" their children how to pray, they ensure that their children memorize: "God is great, God is good, let us thank him for this food." Or "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul will keep..."
Why Teach Children Scriptures to Use In Prayer?
The reason we teach children scriptures such as Psalms 23 is because, first of all, Prayer is a weapon.
The Word of God in prayer is a method, if you will; a way of using the weapon. When the Word of God is used in prayer, it tears down the strongholds of the enemy. Using the Word of God in prayer silences the enemy.
Therefore, teaching children scriptures gives them a simple way of smiting the wiles of the devil.
Give The Children Credit
Believe it or not, children know a lot more than we give them credit for. Children are aware of the darkness in the world, despite their innocence. Christian children who have been taught about Heaven and about hell know that hell is a dark, evil place. Children know what evil is. Perhaps they don't have as complicated an explanation as an adult would, but they know enough to want to get rid of evil.
Children can use prayer as a weapon just as well as adults. They won't necessarily know all the big words the adults use but that doesn't matter. The "efficiency" of prayer isn't about the words you use or the tone of voice; it's about the understanding and the conviction.
Believe it or not, children can reach deep spiritual realms through prayer. Is that dangerous? You bet it is! Anything that opens the spirit is dangerous; it gives access for the enemy to infiltrate. That's why we must protect our children. As Christian parents, you have to pray over your children and pray with your children. Give them the strength and the foundations to pray before you leave them on the battlefield on their own.
For those who believe that children can't reach the same spiritual levels as adults, you MUST watch the video in this Hub.
The conviction and the passion of these children's prayers gave me goosebumps. This video really blessed me and I hope it will bless you as well.
This is a MUST-SEE