Here is a quick thought on children and prayer:
Having young children can create a conundrum at times for precise theology and everyday life, but I’m finding out that having young children hasn’t encouraged me away from precise theology, but has actually encouraged me to better understand theology, specifically my theology of the Trinity and of prayer. Prayer seems to me to be the best place of practice for theology to be learned and grown. If my theology causes my prayers to not flow out of the pattern(s) set in Scripture and with the heart of what prayer is, does and is meant to be, then it is not theology that is the problem, it is me and my weak theology. An example would probably be helpful at this point.
My son and I recently took our dog to the vet for some kind of skin issue. I could tell he was slightly worried about the dog, so I encouraged him and told him about what could happen when we got to the vet. I want my children to learn how to pray to the Lord own their own, but so far they are ok with me handling most of the praying. Outside of praying with me over one another at bedtime, I’m usually in charge of family prayers, so I asked Reid if he wanted to pray for Jewell (our dog) before we went into the vet. He said yes and even prayed for her while I was praying. Reid seemed to relax a bit after this. In the end, it was a minor irritation that needed some light treatment and Jewell should be fine. Reid is happy that his dog is ok and even got to help her get a bath at the vet.
If we take this story and put theological flesh on it, is there a conflict here between prayer, theology and life? I personally see no problem, for our Lord is a sovereign, powerful, good and caring God. He is powerful enough to create and heal my dog. He is sovereign enough to decide if she should live and for how long. He is good enough to give dogs life and give them as good gifts to kids who will love them and that they will love back. God also cares deeply about everything in the created world, which includes my dog, her health, my son, his love of his dog and his need to trust the Lord. He cares enough to use this situation in our life to deepen the faith of my son in Jesus. Sick dogs, prayer and sovereignty don’t collide but create a deeply rooted faith in a Lord who love us and our cares deeply about our cares and concerns. This is why call our God Father. Not because that’s how He wants to be known, but because that’s what He is, a Father. Christians, If we can't pray with our children for their pets then we have yet to understand our doctrine of the Trinity, or prayer at all. What else of our theology could use a trip to the vet?