Little Kids Praying
Praying with little kids is often a difficult experience. While I try to set a good example, my kids often fiddle, wander, or play. As it turns out, they’re not being disrespectful. When little kids fiddle, they’re really engaged in the activity. It’s how they listen, process, and understand things. They may not say the words, but they hear and know them. It can be frustrating when they refuse to pray, but giving them their space has its benefits. One day, the switch will flip, and it’s a beautiful thing.
That’s exactly what happened to us. My son is in kindergarten and should be learning his basic prayers. He’s heard them hundreds of times and I was more than ready for him to be a leader for his sisters. I took him aside one evening and told him that I now had the expectation that he prays aloud with us. He took our talk to heart. The next day, I could hear him quite clearly. His little sister soon joined in.
There’s something wonderful about the sound of a child praying. Their voice is so sweet to adult ears. Their intentions and prayers are so innocent and pure. When I hear my children praying, I understand clearly why God treasures these little ones so much.
It’s been several months now, and both of my “big kids” pray out loud at meals, at bedtime, and on occasion, at Mass. Benedict will even take the lead at mealtime, which is a treat. What’s really struck me, though, is how many of the more complex prayers they know. We’ll be at Mass or praying Night Prayer, and they’ll both join in without skipping a beat. Like a choir singing in harmony, we pray together as a family. It’s a delightful experience.
I don’t know what my children’s faith life will be like when they enter adulthood. What I do know is that I’m going to expose them to as much of our faith as possible. I hope that one day they have the experience of having their own children join them in prayer. It’s an experience that I’ll treasure forever.