Question Regarding the Children
A question that came up along with some thoughts... regarding what to expect and insist upon for our children when we’re gathered over a meal or whatever and begin to pray. I would expect that children 8, 10 and 12-years-old SHOULD know and demonstrate that the proper thing would be to assume a posture of quietness and seriousness with their eyes closed, head bowed and perhaps hands together in their laps. This would seem to be an expression of reverence and humility that they’ve seen in us, and that they as apprentices would also know to do. Am I seeing this correctly? I watched from a distance at dinner recently, one child quietly listening with head down and eyes closed and sitting still while an adult was praying, and another child looking around, moving about, and appearing mindless or self-absorbed (I don’t know which). Several families had been together the previous evening to read an email, and we’d talked to the children about the importance of positioning their lives so that God can cause seed to grow. I shared that with the first child I mentioned as an example of how he’d done that by listening attentively it seemed, during the prayer and hopefully it served as an illustration to the other child as well of the things he’d heard that night.
Another sister and I were talking about all this later, and though of course we want to see the children join the adults (and Jesus! on a heart level), able to sit quietly and listen as we pray together, there’s a fear that if it’s not who they are, to require them to close their eyes and bow their heads and fold their hands together would be teaching them to be religious hypocrites. How can we teach them reverence and our (their) posture before God that’s pure and holy and without pretense in matters such as these?
love, : )
I would NOT want to impose a particular “posture” on anyone, regarding their eyes (Jesus “lifted His eyes to Heaven and said...”) or their hands in lap or any such thing. THAT is dangerous stuff, and builds within them the chance (or likelihood) of hypocrisy and religion. HOWEVER, if I extract the REAL issue from your question—YES the children should be plugged into THINKING and FEAR OF GOD and LOVE OF A PERSON NAMED JESUS—not a ritual act that doesn’t apply to them. SO...... My dealing with any of them, young OR old, who clearly have their minds wandering and inattentive to the Creator of the Galaxies—is to talk about THAT. “Why don’t you think God CARES if you pay attention to Him, rather than thinking about yourself and what is important to you? You’ve learned how to look adults ‘in the eye’ when you’re talking to them, and they are talking to you—HOW MUCH MORE YOUR CREATOR and the ONE WHO DIED FOR YOUR EVIL HEART AND MIND? Can you PLEASE truly CONSIDER HIM when we are together before His Throne? TRY to tell Him ‘thank you’ between the lines as others are speaking the words out loud? PLUG IN or you will die, child. GOD is your LIFELINE to LOVE and HOPE and TRUTH and RELATIONSHIP and a FUTURE. Don’t miss the chance to PLUG IN TO HIM, by letting your mind wander when you could be telling Him you want to know Him, and you ARE grateful for food and clothing and a home and people who love you—and His Son, who died to give you a chance to be more than a chimpanzee who barely lives, and then dies and goes to Hell.”
We don’t have much time with the children, and to be naïve (thinking that the children have all “got it right” and “care” because “our eyes are closed”) would be irresponsible on our parts. OF COURSE there is a supernatural battle over their souls. That’s the nature of the planet. Any “good environment” they may have doesn’t make the agonizing and dangerous “life and death” battle for their souls go away, or even make the battle easier—it simply gives us more weapons to fight the battles. Consider this letter one of those additional weapons.