Blessings, Gratitude and Prayer

There are several reasons I wrote my Bountiful Blessings series of picture books (God’s Blessings of Fall will be available this week!). One of those is the importance of prayer in young children’s lives. Prayer is usually a natural consequence of gratitude. Seeing God as our Creator and Giver of blessings, I hope, will point young children to prayer.

I also hope it will become a part of your family’s Thanksgiving Day traditions—pausing to bless God for creating the beauty of the season of fall.

Once young children learn that they CAN converse with God they just assume that it happens any time, any place, under any circumstance.

In Luke 18:17 Jesus says, “I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” I say we need to pray like little children pray.

I don’t think we need to teach little children to pray. But we do need to get them ready to trust God and pray to Him.

  • We need to teach our children that they are loved.

God has wired the human brain to make connections. When young children feel that we love and value them they will connect those same feelings to God, their Heavenly Father.

  • We need to teach our children that they are safe and secure with us.

We teach babies and toddlers this by holding them close to our bodies, by making sure they are fed, warm, clean. By keeping them in safe places, by protecting them and helping them meet each new challenge. If they feel safe with us they will connect it to feeling safe with God.

  • We need to teach our children that we are listening when they speak.

When a conversation is going on with your little one, stop what you are doing and look into their face. Pay attention. Look at them while you answer their question. You are teaching your little one two critical life skills: how to listen and pay attention when other people speak, and the knowledge that God stops and listens when we go to Him in prayer.

  • We need to teach our children gratitude.

Say “thank you” to them often. As soon as they can sit in a highchair fold their little hands together and recite a simple “Thank you, God, for our food. Amen.” Teach them that all the things in our lives are gifts from God.

When we gently and lovingly teach these things to our toddlers and preschoolers it will be second nature for them to talk to God, to assume He is listening, and to expect Him to answer.

That is prayer in its purest sense.

8 Comments on “Blessings, Gratitude and Prayer

  1. Great article on blessings. All good gifts come from God. After God’s saving grace, children are on top of the list for me.

  2. Great ideas, Jean. I so enjoyed seeing you at the SCBWI Conference in Charlotte. Good luck to you in all your publishing endeavors. God is smiling down on you!

  3. The other day my little granddaughter told me she was going to think about God. She looked out the window and was silent for a few moments, then went back to our conversation.

    • How lovely! If we could all learn to sit in silence and think about God what a blessing that would be.

  4. I am very thankful we met at Write2Ignite. I wish I had remembered to take a photo. Next time. 🙂

  5. Prayer is vital no matter the age! Cute book series!

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