At our January Club Hope event, I had the privilege of teaching one of the younger girl’s small groups! I’ve just recently started working with this age group, and I love getting to connect with these girls so much.
The memory verse we learned in small group that day was about Abraham’s faith, and we talked about what it meant to believe that God had a plan even when we couldn’t see what was coming next. This group of girls had a TON of energy that day, so after we worked on the verse for awhile we played a game before I tried to settle them down. Just before they were about to leave for the bus ride home, we sat down and one of the girls volunteered to pray. Somehow she still was pretty wound up and kept fading into a giggle fit every time she started to pray. It was pretty funny at first, but after about ten false starts, I felt prompted to ask the girls about what prayer meant to them.
We started talking about how when we prayed, we could have faith that Jesus was right in the room, listening to us talking to Him. We talked about how we could just tell Him whatever was on our mind, and He didn’t mind if we had our words perfectly figured out–He loves us, and He hears us.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
The little girl locked eyes with me and calmed right down while I was talking–I could tell she was really listening. Then she asked to pray again, but this time she was completely focused as she prayed for her family and thanked God that we could all be together at Club Hope.
This girl’s prayer reminded me of something my mom had been dealing with that week with my five-year-old brother. He’s been learning how to write his alphabet, but whenever my mom sat down to teach him, he would start getting really goofy and end up scribbling. After a couple days of this, my mom prayed about what to do because it was getting really frustrating. The next day when my brother started getting off-track again, my mom asked him if he was afraid of making a mistake. The little guy said yes and started crying, and my mom was able to talk to him about how he doesn’t need to be afraid.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that even happy little kids can be so scared of failure, whether it’s while they’re at school, playing sports, or even praying aloud. Sometimes all it takes to chase that fear away is a reminder that they are loved.
Something that never fails to blow me away when I really think about it is this: God delights in me.
“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.”
He loves each of His children far, far more than any human mind could ever comprehend. I’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve this love, but He protects, forgives, and cherishes me anyway. If I could share one thing with all the children we reach that could shape the foundation for the rest of their lives, it would be this: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18a,19)
These kids often have so many reasons to be afraid, but we serve a God of unfailing love. He loves to hear our prayers! When you have the opportunity to remind a child of this, it’s amazing to see the difference in their prayer.