When Children Pray

Originally published Thursday, 16 January 2014.

I felt hopeless and helpless. I listened closely as big prayer requests managed to escape their hearts and flow seamlessly through their tiny lips. I grasped their small hands as my heart began to ache and my brain began to franticly search for answers—the answers they needed. 

One. By. One. They shared.

Hurts I had never experienced and fears I could not fathom. And a cloud of guilt that I vaguely recognized entered the room and hovered over my head.  

These were not just prayer requests. These were “lived-through” cries from children seeking relief from a God that they knew exist.

Prayers for protection. Prayers for understanding.  Prayers for mothers, cousins, and boyfriends.

They voiced each of them on this day as if the flood gates had been opened.

A circle of children immersed in a life they could not control, yet engulfed with the child-like faith they needed in order to escape. 

There I stood, at least a shoulder higher than each of them, and somehow I felt so small.

I continued to grasp their hands and listened quietly. I did not know what to say. I needed Christ to show up. They were looking for Him to show up, seeking Him for comfort and crying for restoration.

And then, with the mention of two words, He was there.

A tiny young male voice from across the circle interrupted a young girl, as she began to share her story.  He added one simple conjunction to her sentence….

“But God…”

The young girl was describing a horrific scenario that was very close to ending badly, and the young boy simply reminded her of why it didn’t.  In that moment, the Lord was there. His presence was made known and His peace filled the room.

Two words that can create and change life in one breath.

But God.

Two word that move the knowledge of Him from the pages of the Bible to the aching heart of a child.


As I stood there with tears welling up in my eyes, I realized the important part that a child plays in the spiritual growth of his or her peers.

Raising a child to have a relationship with God is important but raising a child to share God is what has the potential to change another life.

I want to raise daughters that look beyond their own hands to the ones they hold, joined with others in a circle of needs.  I want them to learn to sense the needs of others, and look for an opportunity to speak hope when everyone else is quiet.

Children that see a friend in need and say, “but God.”

Every day our children spend hours within arms reach of brewing testimonies and budding ministries and I pray they will never forget the life that their voice and story speaks.

Today, will you join me in praying that God will use our children to breathe hope into little lives that are desperately waiting for Him to show up?