Teaching Our Children About Prayer

Our daughter, Dinah , and Dixie our German Shepherd cross

Our daughter, Dinah , and Dixie our German Shepherd cross

Teaching Our Children About Prayer

By Dorothy Clark

 

When our four children were in elementary school, Michael and I decided it was time to teach them about prayer. So we sat them down and Michael began with the parable about the persistent woman and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8). When they all understood the importance of hanging in there, he asked them some questions.

“If a little boy riding in a grocery cart asked his Mom for every toy he saw, do you think she’d buy any of them?”

They unanimously answered, “No way.”

“But,” Michael continued, “what if that little boy only asked for one thing, and every time they went to the store, he asked for the same item. Would his Mom buy it for him?”

“Yes.” They were sure she eventually would.

“Okay, I want the four of you to pick one thing you all want. Think about it and let me know what you decide.”

They didn’t need to think about it. With one voice, they said, “We want Dixie back!”

Dixie was our dog. She was a gentle German Shepherd cross, afraid of loud noises like firecrackers. She had disappeared one night while we were gone. I called the pound and the Humane Society nearly every day for weeks, asking for her, but the answer was always no. Eventually I gave up. Now, months later, the four of them wanted her back.

Then the prayers began. Morning, afternoon, and evening, all four prayed for Dixie to come back. Prayer before meals was, “Thank you for the food and please send Dixie back.” Day after day, they persisted in praying for that one thing they wanted more than anything else.

Being great people of faith, even then Michael and I were appalled and dismayed. We wanted them to learn that God hears and answers prayer, and they ruined it by asking for something totally impossible. We desperately wanted to help God answer, but couldn’t think of any way to do it.

Then one day the boys came home from their friend’s home and told me, “We found Dixie. She’s at a house across the street from Bobbie’s.” As soon as Michael arrived home from work, they surrounded him, wanting him to go immediately and bring the dog home. In no hurry to make an ass of himself approaching a stranger on a fool’s errand, Michael did the logical thing—he procrastinated. “We’ll go tomorrow night right after work.”

Tomorrow came all too soon, but Michael stood by his word and the five of them walked the few blocks to Bobbie’s neighborhood. Michael rang the doorbell, and when the door was answered, he said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but my kids think you have their dog.”

The man said, “I don’t think so.”

Michael began to describe Dixie, and as he did, he saw her in the house behind the homeowner. “That’s her right there,” he said.

The man then explained. “My sister lives in a town several miles west of here. She rescues dogs from the pound if she thinks they are worth saving and she can find homes for them. She picked up that dog sometime back. She’s on vacation now, and I’m dog sitting for her. I’m sure she’d be glad to let you have the dog when she gets back.”

So the bargain was struck. We reimbursed the rescuer for the fee she had paid at the pound, and Dixie came back home to us.

Who do you think learned more about prayer, Michael and me or our kids?

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19 comments on “Teaching Our Children About Prayer

  1. Wow!! What an amazing story of the power of prayer!

    And so beautifully written at that, Dorothy! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Michael says:

    Yes, Susanne, thank you! It still blows my mind. That dog was gone for almost 6 months and every time the kids prayed, “Please God, send Dixie back to us,” I would cringe, feeling that there was no way that God could answer those prayers! If we could have made it happen, we would have. But it was a lesson for us all that God does the impossible and the power of child like faith. What are chances that the guy across the street from one of our kids friends (seven blocks away) would have been dog sitting for his sister who lived 20 miles away and that it was she who had rescued our dog about a month earlier from the pound?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lori J. says:

    Awesome, memorable, helpful post! Thank you for sharing! As I ask God to help me be a grandma that will inspire my grandchildren to hunger after my Jesus — this is definitely food for thought.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ken Dawson says:

    I do not see for the life of me how anyone reading that story could not be inspired to believe in persistant prayer.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ken Dawson says:

    Or as the old saying goes–Ill be dog gone!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Pat Orr says:

    What a wonderful story. I’m so glad that you could not find a way to help God answer the prayers of the children. Thank you for sharing.

    Love,
    Pat Orr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Me, too, Pat! I think God takes a great deal of pleasure out of bringing us to the end of ourselves and our efforts and then showing Himself mighty in our behalf, don’t you?

      Love you both,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bernie Orr says:

    Mark 10 v 15. One must be like a child to inherit the Kingdom of God! This child’s faith
    that God answers prayer IS DEFINITE A QUALITY FOR ENTRANCE INTO THIS
    KINGDOM!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Sky says:

    So inspiring! I desperately need prayer for my missing daughter and grandson. She hates us and doesn’t want us to know where she is. I do know she is alive and “ok” but it is so painful that I sometimes forget to pray for days and days on end. It is more comfortable to try to forget. Please pray for ME that I will be able to commit her to prayer and Christ’s eternal plan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Skylla, I know how painful this cam be. We had one of our kids disappear with his two kids and wife for two years to “punish us” one time. Well, I have to credit Dorothy for praying for them consistently during that time. I was not that “holy.” This child of ours had run up a bunch of debt and left us stuck with it so I was more angry than prayerful. God used that time to get to both of our hearts, though, and we are now restored to each other.

      I will be praying for you and your daughter, dear sister.

      Your friend and brother,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • It is horrible to be hated by someone you love. I know that feeling, dear Skylla. 😦

      I will keep praying for you and your family (esp. for YOU + your daughter and grandson) as I already did before. God’s ways are not ours and sometimes when we pray that things might change for the better, they get even worse. That is something that makes me doubt God’s love in such cases since I ask myself then, ‘Would I do the same if my child was concerned?’

      However, I am only human and limited in my perspective on life, including the eternal part. From hence, I can only say, ‘God’s unfathomable ways are hard to “digest” at times, aren’t they?’

      Much love to you ❤ ❤ ❤
      Susanne xoxo

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Allan Halton says:

    Beautiful– and convicting– story! What an encouragement to persistent prayer! Some time ago I read Jesus’ words, “Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8), and suddenly I realized that He spoke this immediately after the parable of the persistent widow, in which He assures that, just as the unjust judge finally gave that widow what she wanted, God hears and will speedily avenge His elect “who cry day and night unto Him.” “Nevertheless,” He continues, “when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?” It seems He is saying that the time comes when things get so difficult that it appears God does not hear. And so people give up believing… and praying. Let us not be numbered among them!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Michael says:

    Allan, thanks for coming by. Yes, I noticed that about Jesus finding faith or not when He returns after I read that parable as well. I think you have made a very valid point. When things get rough will we submit to God and keep seeking Him for all we need or will we put our head down and keep charging the wall or even give up and say, “The Master delays His coming” and eat and drink and abuse our fellow servants out of spite? We are being stripped down until nothing is left but “raw faith”… not faith in Him because we get our prayers answered as we want them, but faith that persists in spite of answers that do not come because we still love HIM.

    Love you, my brother!
    Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lori J. says:

      And . . . if we keep on reading, we find Jesus encouraging the little children to come to Him. Children with their simple belief in whatever you tell them — showing us to how to take Him at His word without question. Do they doubt that He cares about their troubles, confusion or worry? Nope! I picture them lifting their little faces up to Him as He welcomes their dependent spirits — eagerly claiming the attention He loves to give such ones. I see this passage putting Him in *stark contrast* to the “unjust judge;” maybe distinguishing the world (where He definitely will NOT find “faith on the earth”) from the little children. I think we could slip Dorothy’s story about your children and Dixie right in there after Luke 18:17!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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