This summer at our church I am privileged to teach an intergenerational Sunday School class called "Lord, Teach Us To Pray." As you might have guessed, the class focuses on prayer - the Lord's prayer, specifically - and uses it as a model for all prayer. Today's class examined the "in heaven" portion of the opening of the Lord's prayer, and we talked about how, when we pray, we should acknowledge in our hearts and minds how God is in heaven - that is, he is the Lord of the universe, looking down on all things, observing all things, and doing whatever he pleases.
Like I already said, this is an intergenerational class, which means that all ages are combined (K through adult). This format makes it possible from the young to learn from the old, and vice versa. It also affords families the chance to look at the Bible together during the class and talk about the subjects the material presents. As the teacher, I feel really privileged to be a part of the class.
This year The Mrs. and I thought that our oldest child would be "with it" enough to attend this class, even though he is just entering kindergarten this year. After all, we thought, even if some of the content was over his head, it would at least be beneficial for him to see other people devoting themselves to the word, and he could get a good sense of the corporate nature of the church. So we have been having him attend the classes.
This week the lesson talked about how God answers prayer in three ways: either "Yes," "No," or "Wait," and how all of these answers are good and right for us (even if it isn't the answer we want) because God is always good and loving, and always does what is best for us. At the end of the class I passed out a little diagram of a stoplight that had these three answers on the sheet next to the green light (yes), the yellow light (wait), and the red light (no). I encouraged the class to think of times when they prayed prayers and received on or more of these answers to their prayer, and to share that with the group.
After church this morning, my son showed me his sheet. I was blown away by what I saw, partly because it was very cute, but also because it was a very real interaction from a five year old with the ideas regarding the subject of prayer that we have been tackling in Sunday School. His sheet is pictured at left. Click to enlarge
A bit of interpreting needs to be done in order to understand the sheet. The picture at the top of the page is of our now deceased cat, Bartholomew. Ferg explained to me that he had prayed that Bartholomew would live, but that God's answer to that was "No" since Bartholomew died (and actually, he still prays for Bartholomew on a regular basis, even though he has been gone for about two years now).
The picture at the bottom of the page is of our cat Martha, who is very much alive. Jamie said that he prays that she will be a healthy cat. Since she has suffered no significant illness, God's answer to that prayer so far been "Yes."
And then finally, the somewhat indistinguishable picture in the center of the page is of a penguin. "Why did you draw a penguin in the 'wait' circle, James?" one might ask. "Because I prayed that God would give me a penguin, and I haven't gotten one yet, so the answer must be 'wait.'"
I don't mean to brag on my son too much, nor would I say that he's especially smart or in tune to the spiritual realm, nor would I say that he is even a Christian, but this just goes to show that kids can apprehend and grasp a lot more than people think.