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5 Reasons I Encourage Selfish Prayer

I clearly remember being 8 years old and praying for a Barbie Dream House. “Dear God, I’m a good girl and my neighbor Jessica has a Barbie Dream House. I really want one too, so please give it to me. Amen.” I tucked myself into bed and imagined all the amazing things I could do with my Barbies in that dream crib. Oh, the lavish parties we would host! I never did get that dream house.

My selfish prayers continued. A few were answered (Cabbage Patch doll, anyone?), a few were not (Dear God, please don’t let my parents get divorced), but I kept on praying because it comforted me.

While I always believed in the power of prayer’s place in my life, I failed to push prayer with my kids because it somehow felt hypocritical. How could I ask them to pray when we weren’t putting religion at the center of our family? It might sound foolish, but I was more afraid of how I might answer the questions about God and church that they were sure to ask when I was struggling to answer the very same questions for myself.

About year ago we began attending church as a family at the request of Boy Wonder and it was there that my children began to witness the power of prayer for themselves…albeit selfishly at times.

Now listen, kids are inherently selfish, or at least mine are. The want for things; daydreaming long hours about Lego X-Wing Starfighters and other such expensive nonsense. When I caught my 5-year-old praying for God to bring him Legos, I paused and asked myself if this was any different than praying for a Barbie Dream House. It wasn’t.

When it comes to my children and prayer, I offer 5 reasons why I’m totally OK with my kids making selfish prayers:

  • I’m Okay With It! 1 of 6
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    Click through to find out why...

  • There is no wrong way to pray 2 of 6
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    Whether a child is praying for toys or world peace, the practice of prayer is worthwhile. As our children mature and shift their focus away from themselves, their prayers will inevitably follow suit. Allow your child to pray for the superficial along with the meaningful; in the end the process of prayer and power of communication with a transparent heart is what truly matters.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Prayer is good 3 of 6
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    Just as there is no right or wrong way to pray, only good can come from prayer. Your child's spiritual journey will become increasingly important to them as they grow, so encourage the power of humility, gratitude, and sincerity through prayer.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Prayer is personal 4 of 6
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    It can be challenging for kids to navigate the contents of their hearts, particularly when faced with complex emotions. Even selfish prayer offers our kids the opportunity to humble themselves and quiet their hearts as they search for spiritual answers.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Prayer changes 5 of 6
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    Prayer changes everything. Prayer not only changes children, but it changes their relationship with God. As they grow to make conversations with God a part of their everyday lives, maturity, wisdom, and a deeper understanding give way to more selfless prayer and deeper self-reflection.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Faith in action 6 of 6
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    Every time a child listens to their heart and speaks through prayer they're exercising their faith. There is simply nothing more powerful than hope.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

 

In the end, I encourage selfish prayer because it’s still prayer. And as our kids’ hearts change, so will their prayers.

What are your thoughts on kids and selfish prayer?

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