Teach a Child to Pray as Soon as He Can Speak

Via StockSnap
Via StockSnap

My child barely uttered a word until he was nearly three. When he was two, I started to panic when I realized that he was speaking in the wrong language. His first word was in Dutch – a vestige of my wanderlust.

“We are back in America now. You have to speak and learn English.”

A piece of me felt like a xenophobic bigot uttering such words. But it was true. We were in America, and he did need to learn English.

“When he starts speaking, he’ll never stop,” was the constant refrain of those around me. They were right. He is four and never shuts up. I’m happy that he can speak because it means that he can pray.

Susannah Wesley (mother of John Wesley) is often commended for her mothering. One of her parenting philosophies (that I’ve embraced for myself) is to teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.

It was over a plate of blueberry pancakes that we first asked our child to bless the food. He said something so simplistic and profound that my husband and I both stopped to look at each other.

His prayer was this: “Jesus you love us. Amen.”

I was immediately ashamed of my long-winded prayers that focused on needs, wants, desires, fears, and worries instead of focusing on the most important thing – Jesus and His Love. This simple prayer continues to be my son’s favorite, and it has become my favorite too.


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