"Hey, Mommy, will you teach me to pray?"
These were the words uttered by Sarai as she approached her mother one evening.
Her mommy looked inquisitively at her daughter and wondered what within her sparked her desire to learn to pray.
She also wondered God's best way for her to lead and teach her daughter. Growing up, Rana, Sarai's mom, learned to pray through Sunday School. There were lessons weekly that instilled in them the words to pray. The truth is, she learned the words to pray but rarely was ever taught the meaning. Knowing the tradition of prayer was necessary to set a foundation, but later in life, she learned that God desired to hear her heart more than tradition.
Teaching her daughter to pray from her heart is what she knew was the best way to teach her Daughter. She battled because she also wanted Sarai to learn and memorize prayers like, The Lord's Prayer, but was this an essential way to teach her today?
"It was the way Jesus taught His disciples, so surely it was not the wrong way to begin this lesson with Sarai," she thought.
The reality was to teach her daughter, she needed to ask some questions, and then she also needed to pray.
"Baby, what's on your heart?" Rana asked her Daughter. "Tell Mommy what's leading you with the desire to learn to pray."
"Well, Becca at school is being picked at because of her family. Mommy, her family looks different from ours, and the kids are taunting her and making her cry. Then, Seven was home from school, and the teacher told us he was sick and would be out for a while. Ros told me that she doesn't believe in God and that her parents are separating. I want to pray for her, Mommy. Even if she does not believe, I do believe, and I can pray. I overheard two teachers bickering over the law, and they seemed upset about it. I know I'm young, but I hear everything, Mommy. I want to pray for my friends, and I want to pray to God for understanding. Can you teach me?"
Rana sat in shock. Her daughter, who seemed so innocent, took in more than she had ever imagined.
"Yes, Baby, Mommy can," Rana answered Sarai.
"The first thing we are going to do is called,
Connection. I want us to sit, breathe, and listen to soft music. We want to provide space for our minds/thoughts to quiet so that we may invite the Holy Spirit into this space. Does that make sense?" Rana asked Sarai.
"Why do we need to invite the Holy Spirit into our space? Isn't He here already?" Sarai responded.
"He is, but sometimes we are not present with Him. Sometimes we are more present with our thoughts. So this allows us to sit ourselves to the side to hear the voice of God. Prayer is more than just speaking. It's also a time to listen." Rana shared this with Sarai.
"The second thing we are going to do is prepare our hearts. We express gratitude and honor for who God is in our life. We allow Him to know that we honor, worship, and trust Him. We thank Him for the many things He has done in our life. It shows Him our faith but not only that. It helps us trust what God is doing this season even if it seems extremely hard."
"That seems pretty easy, Mommy. I can do that," said Sarai.
"Awesome, Baby. Once we have a moment of gratitude and worship of Christ in our lives, we want to admit who we are and how we truly fall short. We want to ask God to forgive us of our sins/shortcomings. We want to also extend forgiveness to those we have been irritated or mad at lately."
"Why do we do this, Mommy?" Sarai asked.
"To be honest, honey, God will hear you no matter what. But, sometimes, when dealing with guilt for what we've done or anger at someone else, it can keep us from hearing what God is speaking to us. It's connected to what's clouding our hearts. It's best to get it all out so we can come before God and have space to hear His voice."
"Now, we can ask. We can pray for all the things that are in our hearts. Like all of the things, you mentioned to me. You can set those worries right before God."
"Okay, Mommy, so now I can ask God and talk to Him about everything I've been thinking about?" Sarai asked.
"Yes, ma'am, you can. As you pray, make sure you pause and listen to Okay?"
"Yes, ma'am, I will. What do I do at the end?" Sarai asked.
"I always end my prayers with, In Christ's name I pray Amen," Rana responded.
"Then I will too, Mommy, thank you."
"Sarai, I want to tell you, even if you don't follow this structure and just whisper a small prayer to God for your friends, He will still hear your prayer and your heart.
Sometimes we don't have enough time to sit still and pray. So we pray as we feel led, and that's still the correct way.
But also, I encourage you to make time in your day to sit still and pray this way.
Your prayer life is the most critical aspect of your life. Prayer is how you will receive direction, peace, calmness, and a renewal of your faith. It's like when Mommy has to put fuel in her car to keep going."
Prayer is your fuel to keep going in life.