Contributed by Kelly Brotherton
“What are some things we can do in the Prayer Room?!” I ask my kiddos as we head to church.
“Color…” grumbles child #1
“Sing?” says #2
“Talk to God” says #2
“Those are all great things to do in the Prayer Room!” I reply.
After a rare silent moment, “But no ninja moves, right?!” shouts child #1
“ …And we can’t climb on the chairs…Or under them” cheerily exclaims child #2 from the far back seat of my minivan.
Silly me for thinking we had covered all the bases. Silly, because we have this conversation each time we go to the Prayer Room. And at certain stages of life I have been explicit about no ninja moves and no knight battles. In the midst of herding cats into the Great Southwest Prayer Room, I can wonder “What in the world am I thinking. This is futile!” Then I remember if I don’t teach my children the great and wondrous deeds of the Lord, they’re missing out. And so am I.
Here is why we feel it’s valuable to spend time in the place of prayer as a family with very young children. I pray that this encourages you wherever you are in seeking out the Father’s heart.
There was a time in my life where I could spend hours upon hours soaking in prayer and in the singing of Psalms; it was a time when I could never have imagined how important just 10 or 20 minutes a week in that space with tiny prayer warriors could be. Something extraordinary happens when we leave our comfy world and enter a location that is dedicated to the culture of prayer and worship. Where the tender hearts of lovesick ones has seasoned the atmosphere. Where the fragrance of expectation is thick. In this place, God taught me the value of longing to know more of Him. You’ve been there right?! God shows you something new about Himself; the richness of His mercy, depth of His love, intimacy of His heart for you… Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware, we experience His presence in a field, in a work place, in a closet with a bag over our heads. But the Prayer Room is a place where the Lord has revealed Himself to me in ways so personally, that I long for it when I’m away.
When I became a mom, my mission field narrowed. It became 24/7. And it took on the face of a blue-eyed, chubby-cheeked charmer; a tiny dancer whose arms raise at the first note of “Draw Near to Me;” and a long and lean, fiercely intuitive first born. I still longed to sit in the place of prayer, but I knew that had to look different from hours on end in a room with expensive equipment and candles everywhere. Oh the fire hazards! So, we started just watching worship services and the ihopkc prayer room online. And I mean that’s where we STARTED! I’ve been pregnant or nursing for the better part of the last 6 years. So middle of the night, we turn on a streaming live feed or when I just couldn’t handle the screaming anymore, I set my heart to worship. My sanctification as a mom has looked like desperation most of the time. I can’t change their hearts, or mine for that matter, so I have to point them to the one who can. So in the early days, we sang… A LOT to the Lord and of Him.
Kids learn through song. Think “ABC’s” or “Wheels on the Bus.”. Y’all know what I’m talking about. You’re already singing them to yourself YEARS after you learned them. Now imagine singing over and over “All is for You Glory!” “You are Holy,” “Jesus your coming soon!” These are phrases I come across my small children singing after we’ve been in the prayer room. The Lord is writing His word upon their hearts! They will be children, young adults and grown ups who know the Lord, who look to the skies for His return, and who tell others of His great love for them! All of that starts in the small spaces. I see the fruit in my child asking me to pray for him 12000 times in a day and expecting God to move. Or in the older one telling a friend “Don’t be afraid! Jesus is with you!” Our kids have no Jr Holy Spirit. And our 3 year olds aren’t made to grow into the image of God. They are right now today made in the image of God; wiggles, snotty noses and all. They are being transformed from glory to glory for sure.
Do I think the Prayer Room is necessary for my children to love God? Of course not. But ask me if I think they get a glimpse of heaven there?… Heck yeah! They see adults, teens and kids setting themselves apart to be about their Father’s business. As soon as I realized this, I couldn’t ignore this community of worshippers who could impact my kids’ walk with the Lord just by being visible, authentic and offering their praises in front of them, I also couldn’t stay away. Could you be longing for the same sort of thing?
So we may get to be there for an hour. Glory Hallelujah! More realistically, we may be there for 20 minutes and on a hard day, 10. But we become that which we behold. So as a family, we are diligent to steward well our most precious resources. We will set our feet to the fire and behold the Glory of the coming Christ. And then we’ll get a milk shake.
Because on the mission field, you learn the language and meet the natives on their turf. And let’s get real, their turf is the play gym at Chick Fil A and their language… Milkshakes.