Help your child build confidence in his or her talking with God

I always encouraged my son to pray in his own words.

Last night, I noticed that my little boy forgot to say his prayer in bed. Or maybe it was intentional and that he doesn’t like to be praying anymore. So I asked him why he’s not praying.

He said he was tired. I was thinking he was just not in a mood to pray or maybe finding it to be boring for that particular moment. I always encouraged my son to pray in his own words.

I let him stay in bed and not force him to get up to pray. And when it’s time for me to talk to God, he gets up to join me in prayer. I know he’s learning the importance of prayer by seeing or hearing me or his mom pray.

My son’s prayer was simple. He would be mentioning names starting with me, his mom, grandpa, grandma, uncles, aunts, cousins, and even his friends and playmates. Sometimes, a neighbor would be included.

After mentioning names in a prayer asking God to protect them and give them good health, he would then ask God to give him food, milk, juice, and all the things he wished to have. He always closed his prayer with a thanksgiving.

I couldn’t help myself but to smile in the way he prays. It was simple, specific, very honest, on the spot, and direct to the point prayer. I see to it that when he prays, I was giving him the freedom to talk to God and that he could also see us praying. I think that’s where his confidence should grow.

To pray is to simply be with God and to talk to Him. A child needs to know early in his or her life that he or she could talk to a God just like when he or she is talking to Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, or a friend. He or she needs to understand that God is out there willing to listen to what he or she has to say.

Talking about prayers, I came across a prayer written by Stephen Vincent Benet.  It was a prayer for freedom and for peace titled “A Prayer For United Nations.”

Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943) is an American poet, novelist and short-story writer, interested in fantasy and American themes. His best-known works are John Brown’s Body and a short story called “The Devil and Daniel Webster.”

“A Prayer for United Nations” was read by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the nation on June 14, 1942. Read it to find out what the United Nations were praying for in 1942 and how it’s still as relevant as to this day:

God of the free, we pledge our hearts and lives today to the cause of all free mankind.

Grants us victory over the tyrants who would enslave all free men and nations. Grant us faith and understanding to cherish all those who fight for freedom as if they were our brothers. Grant us brotherhood in hope and union, not only for the space of this bitter war, but for the days to come which shall and must unite all the children of earth.

Our earth is but a small star in the great universe. Yet of it we can make, if we choose, a planet unvexed by war, untroubled by hunger or fear, undivided by senseless distinctions of race, color, or theory. Grant us the courage and foreseeing to begin this task today that our children and our children’s children may be proud of the name of man.

The spirit of man has awakened and the soul of man has gone forth. Grant us the wisdom and the vision to comprehend the greatness of man’s spirit that suffers and endures so hugely for a goal beyond his own brief span. Grant us honor for our dead who died in the faith, redemption and security for all captive lands and peoples. Grant us patience with the deluded and pity for the betrayed. And grant us the skill and the valor that shall cleanse the world of oppression and the old base doctrine that the strong must eat the weak because they are strong.

Yet most of all, grant us brotherhood, not only for this day but for all our years—a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth—grant us that simple knowledge. If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed. If they hunger, we hunger. If their freedom is taken away, our freedom is not secure. Grant us a common faith that man shall know bread and peace—that he shall know justice, righteousness, freedom and security, an equal opportunity and an equal chance to do his best, not only in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us march toward the clean world our hands can make. Amen.

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