But God is pleased with the prayers of children because the prayers of children proclaim his greatness. He is the God who takes lisping, slightly nonsensical, theologically wobbly and entirely sincere prayers and uses them to accomplish his eternal purposes. He is the God who shuts the mouth of the Evil One with the praises of infants (Ps. 8:2). And he is the God who can—and does!—amplify his own glory through the small sound of little children praying.
You Need the Prayers of Children
What’s more, adults are blessed when children lead in prayer. In that Scottish schoolroom, the adults pressed their ears to the doors and wiped tears from their eyes as they heard the sincere faith of their little ones breathed out in prayer. Parents, teachers and ministers were led by little hands to the very throne of God.
Nineteenth-century theologian Charles Hodge said of himself as a child, “I thought of God as an everywhere-present Being, full of kindness and love, who would not be offended if children talked to him.” We adults need to be reminded of this, too, and the prayers of children are a valuable testimony to us of the loving inclination of the God who hears. And in hearing children pray, we remember that we are likewise dependent on him for all things.
Children Need the Prayers of Children
Finally, children learn to pray publicly by praying with other children. If public speaking is the general population’s greatest fear, public praying might be its Christian equivalent. Grown men quake at the thought of leading a group in prayer. But I believe that if children prayed publicly with their peers from their earliest sentences—if they thanked God aloud for the snack in Sunday school or asked God to help the teacher in Vacation Bible School or praised God for healing their friend’s playground injury—they would become comfortable praying together.
For children, regularly hearing the prayers of other children and offering such prayers themselves would make praying together the normal expression of a relationship to God and to one another. Like language immersion students, young ones would grow up surrounded by public prayer—as used to praying aloud with their friends as they are to talking.
So, go on, let the kids have a turn to pray. And perhaps—just perhaps!—we will again see days of revival in which all of God’s people, both old and young, pray together.
Megan Hill is a pastor’s wife and writer living in Massachusetts. Her new book is Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches.