Prayer with our Children- Deepening our Roots
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
David was a man after God’s own heart. Definitely an example we want to follow. What I found so interesting as I pondered the life of David is his hidden years in the wilderness- everything that happened before he was called in as an afterthought to be anointed the next king of Israel. The scripture above is his entrance into the Biblical narrative. There was something about David. These verses comment on his physical appearance which interestingly enough was frowned upon a few verses back when God reminded Samuel that He looks at the heart, not the outward appearance. So what was it about David that made God tell Samuel, “this is the one”? What we know about David’s wilderness years is that he had a lot of prep time to be all that God created him to be (which is not unlike any of us). He battled lions and bears, but learned to worship the Lord, pray, and listen to the voice of His Lord. He was just as handsome as any of the six brothers that went ahead of him. But what made him stand out was the time He had spent in God’s presence. He spent time with God. And even at his young age, nobody was telling him to do it. No one was coercing him. No one was nagging him to pray. He just did it. He most likely had instruction at home about Yahweh and who He was. But something in that wilderness area drew his thoughts, his delight, and his heart to the Lord. Prayer is so important to develop at a spiritual discipline in our children. There are tips and resources to facilitate a prayer life for them, but what needs to develop is a deep desire to know God. Like roots in search of water, our hearts and the hearts of our children need to desire and yearn for God. The thing about roots is that they will go where the water is. Wherever the water is, they will go in search for it. When the water seems to be hidden deep beneath the surface, the roots will find it. Roots chase after water, while all the time lengthening, strengthening, and deepening. The plant above the surface grows in direct proportion to the size of the roots below it. With our children, we need to lead them to that water to desire God in order for their prayer life to take root. This is no easy feat to accomplish and can seem quite impossible. We can’t even get our kids to desire eating their vegetables or having a clean room, let alone another “chore”. When we don’t understand or grasp the purpose of prayer, it can seem like simply something we do. It is not something that transforms us. We get our kids to delight in speaking and listening to God when we speak and listen to God ourselves. Prayer is admittedly difficult and our heart, mind, and soul can go in 3000 different directions just in 10 minutes of sitting in God’s presence. It’s not just children who expect immediate results from our prayer. But just like roots in search of water, we need to get past the surface that expects God to show up immediately or to feel something because we prayed. For prayer to transform our lives, we need to press in deeper. We need to keep going to the throne room. We need to search for that living water personally and collectively. The more we press in, the deeper we go. The more we seek, the more we find. The more we find, the more we delight in who He is. He will speak to us when we are quiet and rest in His presence. God’s whispers, His presence is everywhere. But we need to be close to Him to hear His steady heartbeat. And He is giving us that choice to go deeper and find Him.