I recently discovered my children are infected with a horribly contagious childhood illness. Yes, each one of them has a severe case of the gimmes. Worse yet, their gimmes are not just evident at the store or in their frequent chatter of wants, but I’m beginning to hear the gimmes spreading to their prayers.
Our children have always been surrounded by prayer. We prayed about having them, we pray for them, we pray with them. Through the years, they have been taught that through Jesus they can take anything and everything before our Heavenly Father.
I believe each of the littles began praying openly during dinnertime. We make a point of giving thanks for God’s provision. I have to admit that Little Bear’s prayers are probably some of my favorite. She always begins with a hearty “Praise Jesus, thank you for……” Regardless if we are at home or out publicly, our children have never been hesitant to engage in prayer. I’ve often been humbled by their openness and simple trust.
Have you ever prayed and your heart and words were an out pour of what you wanted God to do for you? Recently I have noticed that in the prayers of my children. My boys’ prayers abound with gimmes. They have skipped over recognizing the awesomeness of God or failed to demonstrate thankfulness. They launch into a gimme list of video games and Lego sets they would like to be blessed with. I discovered Little Bear is even infected. I declined to buy her a cool toy at the store recently. It was too expensive and not needed. I later heard her praying “Praise Jesus, please give us more money for….”
I love the honesty of children. The other day during devotion, I asked Columbo who he thought about the most. He didn’t even pause before answering “me.” Thankfully he had a sly smile on his face suggesting he recognized a degree of selfishness in his response.
I want my children to truly understand the reverence that should be shown to our amazing Creator. I have heard parents comment they love their kids so much they just want to give them the world. I love my kids so much, I want them to have eternity. They can only have that through Jesus Christ.
As I’ve heard the boys continue to pray for a cool video game a friend told them about, I have challenged them to pray instead if God would want them to have the game. I like the encouragement of Francis Chan when he’s quoted to say “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Those words are not just for adults. I believe God can be glorified through any willing vessel regardless of age.
I desire to see my children living lives surrendered to Christ, and being deliberate about their faith. I pray continually for wisdom in parenting, teaching, and training the children I’ve so graciously been entrusted with.
Today and everyday, I’m challenging my children to pray intentionally for a friend or family member that does not know Jesus, or to pray for our neighborhood or city. I pray their focus will be less on the attractions of this world. I pray their hearts will be burdened with what burdens our Lord!
How do you treat the gimmes? How do you teach humility and selflessness?