Author Archives: Burk Parsons
The end of words is the beginning of words, namely, God.
[Editor’s note: This is the second part of Burk Parson’s article on “Teaching Children to Pray.” Check out his first installment.]
In all that we teach our children, the greatest and most fundamental thing we can do is model a praying life before their beautiful little eyes and their perceptive little ears. Though we are doing this already, as we continue to depend daily more and more on God and enjoy our communion with him, we would do well to keep in mind the following principles of prayer to the end that the Holy Spirit might use us sinful and broken vessels as models of a dependent and repentant, faithful and prayerful life in communion with our Lord. I’ve separated the following principles into three categories: Foundational Principles, Situational Principles, and Motivational Principles. My hope in this article is to set down some of the principles I’ve learned about prayer in order to provide parents with a few guiding principles that I have tried to model before my children, albeit imperfectly. There are certainly many more principles we could add to this short list, but I offer them simply as a starting point for your own further reflections and study.
Foundational Principles of Prayer for Children
Let them see that prayer is grounded in the Word. Prayer is nourished, and strengthened by God’s Word. E.M. Bounds wrote, “The Word of God is the food by which prayer is nourished and made strong.”
Let them see that prayer is united to the Word. …
God created us as dependent creatures. We were made to fall on our knees and pray. Men either worship self through the world, the flesh, and the Devil, or by God’s grace, they worship him. God fashioned our hearts with an overwhelming sense and insatiable desire to commune with him. Therefore, we pray not primarily because we must; we pray because we cannot help but pray. In prayer, we go to our father because there is no one else to whom we can go, no one else to whom we can turn, no one else who can hear, and no one else who will answer. We pray out of utter helpless dependence, and we pray out of sheer inexpressible delight. We pray amidst the depths sorrow when words fail us entirely, and we pray amidst the heights of delight in moments of transcendent synchronicity when our words seem entirely inadequate as we pour out our soul’s deepest affections to our Lord with joy inexpressible.
In one sense we don’t need to be taught to pray, nor, in one sense, do we need to teach our children to pray. If they were chosen by the Lord from before the foundation of the world, he will sovereignly regenerate their hearts unto new life in Jesus Christ. As a natural result of their conversion, they will pray, they will love to pray, and they won’t be able to keep themselves from praying. Contrary to Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion (p. 354), we aren’t …
We have heard people say, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Both believers and unbelievers alike cling to this proverbial life principle that gives us a sense of comfort and hope in the midst of our daily anxieties, miseries, and afflictions. This is a universally understood truth that Scripture itself teaches (Rom. 5:3-5; Jam. 1:2-4, 12; 1 Pet. 4:12-19). Trials do indeed make us stronger and more steadfast in our faith. Trials mature us. They help us to grow up. However, this is only one part of the biblical equation.