- Teaching our children to walk through the desert of prayer

During Lent we are called to follow Jesus’ last moments of his life. Often the last moments of a person’s life can be quite difficult. This can be like a desert. Prayer helps prepare us for this moment. It connects us to God and raises our minds beyond what we can see to a deeper reality.

As a parent we are called to share our prayer life with our children. We are called to encourage our children especially through our challenges. Lent reminds us of the difficulty Christ faced, but also in our own lives. Life can seem at times dark, like a struggle and sometimes sin filled. God reaches out to us and says, “you are not alone” and “I am with you”. Yet, when we invite our children to pray with us, they may respond “this is boring” or “I don’t want to do this”. Why do we give up so easily?

This can be like the desert. We don’t like to travel through deserts. The ancient Israelites wanted to leave the desert and wilderness and return to the familiarity of Egypt. Prayer can be like the desert. Those spaces we are not familiar with. It can be dry as though our journey seems meaningless or as though what we are doing is a waste of time.

Praying is like using our muscles we have never used before. Trying to lift 50- or 100-kilogram weights may seem impossible. Lifting weights takes practise. It takes coaching. It takes encouragement. It takes modelling. It takes regularity. Prayer is the same. Prayer is not just something we can just do. Our prayer life needs to grow despite the difficulties we might face. Prayer is something we need to learn. We need to build our prayer muscles.

We cannot do this alone. We need to invite our children. We need to show them a way of doing things which calls them to grow in ways not expected. We need to invite our children to “pray with us”. The invitation is the hardest part. Over time things will change and grow. But, we grow not as individuals, but more connected to each other and to God.

You see God is hidden in our lives. Prayer awakens in us this hiddenness despite the deserts we face. Prayer can teach us a different way of being and a different way of knowing. Beyond words. The desert provides opportunities to grow and attune ourselves to God’s secret tapestry woven in our lives.

Our children are not simply to find this out alone. Rather, scripture says to “Recite them to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). This Lent why don’t you invite your children to pray regularly with you? As Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name I am with them” (Matthew 18:20)..

I am with you, but are we with God? How do we more fully rise our minds, hearts, bodies and even families to be with God?

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03 March 2022

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Andrew Dumas

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Reflect -

I am with you, but are we with God? How do we more fully rise our minds, hearts, bodies and even families to be with God?

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