Monday, August 9, 2010

Prayers for Children

Last year, I reviewed a book by Stephen Elkins called 100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Songs.  The girls loved it.  The Bible stories were simple and good for preschoolers.  The book included two cds with traditional Sunday school songs.

Recently, I received 100 Prayers God Loves to Hear: 100 Praise Songs.  I was curious if we would like it as well as the other book I reviewed by Stephen Elkins.  I pulled out the first cd to listen to.  The music was very electronic and my girls didn't really like it.  The hard part is that I asked them why and since my oldest daughter is only 6 years old, she couldn't really tell me why--she just knew she didn't like it.  I read through the prayers in the book and for the most part the prayers were okay.  I liked the 10 Bible Verses about Prayer list in the front of the book.  There is a great table of contents in the beginning of the book so you can find your favorite prayers easily.

There were a couple of prayers that were disconcerting to me and are why I wouldn't recommend this book if you are looking for a book about prayer for children.  The prayers that concerned me were "The Prayer of Jabez".  The book quotes the NKJV of this verse and it says that "The prayer of Jabez pleased God because he prayed for others."  p. 52  My last blog entry goes into what the different translations say and so this statement isn't really biblical.   Yes, God did answer Jabez's prayer, but it doesn't say why.  We don't know.

Another entry is a prayer that is on page 196 "The Prayer of the Twenty-Four Elders".  I don't think it's unbiblical, per se, but it just didn't sit with me for some reason.  I guess it bothered me.  The idea that we praise Jesus because he's worthy--because he has "earned the right" to be praised makes him sound more like a human than the Son of God.  I praise the Lord because of who He is.  Jesus didn't have to do something so I would love Him.  I think it rubbed me the wrong way because we are so caught up in the idea that we should only respect someone if they've earned it--if they deserve our respect.  We are so rebellious against authority and are so caught up in pride that it clouds the way we look at things sometimes.  I don't think the author meant it this way, but I am so sensitive to this weakness in myself and our society that I seem to pick up on it a lot.

In the end, this book is fine, but I don't think I would spend $20 on it.  If you're looking for a book on prayer for children, I would recommend Prayer: Learning How to Talk to God by Jeanete Groth.  It is illustrated by Jan Brett.  I love it!  It is a wonderful book that teaches children the different things we pray about (praising God for his creation, praying for guidance, thanking God, etc.).  

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Thomas Nelson.

1 comment:

Randy said...

I see where you're coming from on the Prayer of the 24 Elders (and I completely agree with you about the Prayer of Jabez--that one's bothered me since the book came out).

I think the 24 elders "prayer" (or, more accurately, hymn of praise) is in part because of what Jesus has done. We praise Him for who He is, but also because He died for us. Basically, there are two reasons to praise someone, because of what they do (conditional) and because of who they are (positional).

We praise God for both reasons. He is God, and that is enough. Simply His "position" or the fact that He is God is why we praise Him. But at the same time, we can praise Him for what He has done. As Paul said in I Cor. 15:14 (ESV), "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."

So, we can praise Him both because of Who He is and what He does. In a way, then, He covers all the bases. That's how I understand it, anyway.