In his sermon this past Sunday, Pastor Josh mentioned the importance of teaching our children to pray. This can be hard for me, though God grows my passion for prayer more and more. With my own daughter, I often tend to ask her to pray and when she demonstrates insecurity about it, I confess I often brush her insecurity aside and say, “Just talk to him! About anything!” I easily forget how I have been in the same place, and have had to learn—and still have more yet to learn—to pray and dialogue with the Lord.
I came across this blessed, encouraging testimony:
Augustus Strong, who was a Baptist seminary president at the end of the nineteenth century and who wrote a Systematic Theology still in print wrote in his auto biography,
One of the earliest things I remember is [my mother's] taking me into a dimly lighted closet every Saturday afternoon after the day's work was done and kneeling with me beside a chest while she taught me how to pray. I remember her suggesting to me the thoughts and, when I could not command the words, her putting into my mouth the very words, of prayer. I shall never forget how, one day, as I had succeeded in uttering some poor words of my own, I was surprised by drops falling upon my face. They were my mother's tears. My mother's teaching me how to pray has given me ever since my best illustration of the Holy Spirit's influence in prayer. When we know not what to pray for as we ought, he, with more than a mother's skill and sympathy, helps our infirmities and makes intercession within us while Christ makes intercession for us before the throne.
Mothers, show them what to pray. Those times when it feels silly to give your young sons and daughters every word of their prayers, when it seems superficial when they are simply repeating after you, when sometimes you feel like your prayers are “too lofty” for them to understand and think perhaps it is fruitless, know that you are showing them what Augustus’ mother showed him: that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, and when we know not what to pray or what to ask for, when we feel insecure in approaching the throne, he helps us with groans that we on earth cannot quite understand.
Praying for you, that one day those little ones of yours will burst out in a most unexpected moment with a heart-felt prayer raised unto their heavenly Father, and the sweet tears upon Augustus’ mother’s face, shall be the sweet tears upon yours.