I Love to Help You: On Becoming Prayerful & Raising Prayerful Children
Don’t have children? This is still relevant to you today. I learned more my relationship to God as my Father reading a parenting book than anything else! So, if you’re struggling in your prayer life, struggling with how to go to the Lord, read on. This may wonderfully surprise you, how much you needed this today!
“I can do it myself!”
“I don’t need your help! I can do it myself!”
The common preschool phrase! That sentence is an icon of that stage of childhood development. I lament that many of us never grow out of it! : )
I notice that, “I can do it myself!” is often followed by a frustrated cry for help…
“I can’t do it!!!”
I do my best to let my children come to that place. I do my best not to rush in and rescue too soon. Because it’s the place of surrender. (And that’s truly the most beautiful place a person, whether toddling or adulting, can find themselves.) I give my children freedom to flail and struggle because that’s what helps them grow and learn. And when they just can’t, the flailing and struggling is also what brings them to me when they need me. I do this because I feel like it’s how God raises me. He lets me try on my own all I want. And He gives me freedom to decide if I want to come to Him for help or keep trying other avenues.
When our children get to that place of frustration that they just can’t do it, we have a decision to make. Are we going to condemn them… “See there!? I told you that you needed my help!” (This type of response is rooted in pride.) Or are we going to shame them… “I’m not going to help you now! You already told me you didn’t need my help. Good luck on your own.” (This type of response is also rooted in pride.)
Or are we going to respond with humility?
One example of responding in humility is by saying, “Yes, I’d love to help you. I love helping you. How can I help you?”
I do my best to say this out loud to my children any and every time they hit that place of frustration. I say it repeatedly, just like that, so they really hear me.
“Yes, I’d love to help you. I love helping you. How can I help you?”
This is important. They need to know I love to help them.
I believe this simple phrase is also one of the best ways I can teach my children how to pray.
I notice many people don’t want to go to the Lord for help in prayer because they feel like they should be able to do it themselves. Or I notice that many people don’t go to the Lord in prayer because they are ashamed they can’t figure it out on their own and would rather flail and suffer than be shamed for asking for help. God did not teach these people to respond this way. Sadly, their upbringing probably did.
We do the best we can to raise our kids the way God raises us, right? And this is just one small little detail that I believe will reap huge benefits in our children as they grow up.
Just treat them the way God treats you.
When our kids learn there is no shame and no negative consequences for seeking our help, then they’re already learning some of the basic foundations of a healthy prayer life— To ask! To approach God freely, secure in His love, in full faith that, yes! God loves to help me.
So whether you are a parent or not today, you are certainly a child of God. What’s the thing you are struggling with today? What do you keep banging your head against a wall over? What is just not going right?
Holy Spirit is your Ever-Present Help in Time of Need. So begin at the basics…
God loves to help you. God loves to help you. How can He help you today?