Saturday, July 31, 2010
What Children Can Teach Us About Prayer
Children know how to play. They also know how to pray.
A connection to the Divine comes naturally to children because they are open to the notion that they are not alone, and that there is a God in the universe that cares. Truth, be told, we adults can learn much about prayer by understanding our kids.
The human mind is a gift from God; a vehicle for the connection between us and our maker. Yet as we grow older and become encrusted with daily life and habituated to the miracle of existence, the mind serves to constrict that connection. It happens slowly to most of us.
Kids teach us to open up to life and to God. And that is what prayer is at its core: a call for the experience of a vital presence in one's life. When you feel distant from faith, it is difficult to evoke the experience of God by your side as you pray. When you have freed yourself up to your faith, there is a higher likelihood of a sense of the divine in your life.
Not all traditions require a living God in order to pray, and in these traditions (i.e. Quakers, Ethical Culture or Buddhists) prayer evokes a sense of being that quiets the mind in the midst of everyday chaos. But in the deistic faiths, the presence of the Divine can be quite personal and dear. In the midst of a divorce, an adult with a childlike openness can find herself transported to a place of reassurance and wisdom that is worth the effort.