Raising kids makes for some fun and challenging times. One of the things that we feel is essential to their growth and maturity is how to talk with adults. There are basic rules of civility that we want our kids to know and do when it comes to talking with adults, for example – look them in the eye when they are talking with you and when you respond. Our ultimate desire is not for our kids to embrace a set of rules for conversation but to have real conversations.
Learning to pray is a lot like this. We can teach basic rules, similar to our “look them in the eye” rule when it comes to prayer. We can make sure you know to end in, “in Jesus’ name”…doesn’t it bother you when someone doesn’t end with “in Jesus name”? 😉 But our ultimate goal in learning to pray is not about learning a set of rules for prayer but to have real conversations with God. We want our kids to want to talk with others in a way that connects. We should want to talk with God. When you want to talk with God, the words will come.
Yes, it is nice to teach some basics and have some ground rules for conversation but there is more to a relationship than following social conversational convention. Our growth and maturity in our prayer life will start with some ground rules but over time, as we grow in our faith, knowledge and relationship with God, should change into something richer, fuller and more meaningful. It won’t just be at meals, it will be when something important, or even unimportant happens, and the first thing that comes to mind is that you want to talk with your loved one (God) about it. You think of this because He is on your mind more than He used to be and because you know His deep love and concern for you.
So let’s learn to talk with God, not just as a set of propositions, rules and routines but as someone we can’t wait to have another conversation with!