Kids and Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Kids are funny. If you’ve been following my posts for very long, you already know that. But at the same time as they make you laugh, kids also make you think. It’s crazy to reflect on the profound nature of some of the things that kids say and do, even unwittingly.

The way they pray is a great example. We have some friends whose kids pray with an overarching theme of thanksgiving. “Thank you for Mommy and Daddy,” sure—but it doesn’t stop there. They continue with things like, “Thank you for allergies,” and so on. They don’t understand the difference between a praise and a petition. And it kind of makes sense, when you think about the way we teach them to pray.

Up until recently, Tijge had only learned enough about prayer to burst out, “God is great!” and to close with a “Yea!” and a round of applause. Lately, though, he’s started to pray, “God is great, God is good, thank you for our food, Amen.” Then just yesterday, I overheard him while playing in the tub, “God is great, God is good, thank you for bath time, Amen.”

I remember reciting that same prayer at mealtimes whenever we used to visit my grandmother as a kid. But somewhere along the line, I stopped doing it. I guess it was because I outgrew the need for such a “simple” prayer. But looking back at it now, and hearing Tijge say those words, I’ve realized that this seemingly simple prayer is actually quite profound. What I mean is, if we opened every prayer with the acknowledgement that God is great and God is good, could we then follow those words with a statement of gratitude, knowing that a good and great and loving God will ultimately do and allow only what is best for us?

Doesn’t the Bible say to give thanks in ALL circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)? And to trust that God is in control of those circumstances? Might it change our outlook and our perspective if we, too, expressed gratitude in the midst of trials and challenges, as well as joys? Might that cause us to look beyond ourselves and our present circumstances, to see what God is doing on a larger scale? I think so.

So, we might think that our kids are really confused, when in fact they are wise beyond their years. Maybe, just maybe, they have it all figured out. Maybe we ought to let them teach us a thing or two about prayer.

God is great, God is good, let us thank Him. Period.

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