Community News

Now I lay me down to sleep…I pray

Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

 We all know that prayer is important. Right?

Well, even if you didn’t agree, 8-year-old Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista, California figured that it is. For his third-grade homework assignment, when asked to ‘explain God,’ he wrote:

“God appreciated everything (Jesus) had done, and all his hard work on earth, so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So, he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.”

That’s quite an insight for an 8-year-old. He then added a further note about the roles of God the Father, and His son, Jesus: “You can pray anytime you want” he wrote, “and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time”.

Out of the mouths of babes….

Most people struggle to understand prayer – and struggle even more to make it something they practice on a regular basis. But when backed into a corner – facing a real crisis in life, the tendency of most people is to turn to prayer – or enlist someone they know who prays – figuring that there’s nothing to lose. It’s a last resort – but surprise, surprise, more often than not prayer just works!

But back to little Danny at Chula Vista.

He begins his assignment by explaining that “one of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.”

But he then goes on to share his understanding about another important job God has!

“God’s second most important job is listening to prayers” he says. “An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.”

But sorry, Danny, the reality is that fewer and fewer people pray on a regular basis. And even fewer encourage their little ‘Dannys’ to pray. Generations have passed since parents routinely instructed their offspring to pray before going to sleep at night. Not only that, but television stations that would once require their fictitious characters like ‘Big Dog’ to kneel beside his bed and briefly pray before being tucked in snugly for the night, have dispensed with this!

How are we to encourage children to learn important truths and selfless behaviour if we constantly erode sound practices in order to appease a few who might be offended. Someone recently said:

“Why don’t the 99% of us who aren’t offended by everything, quit catering to the 1% who are?”

And whilst that’s a generalization – not a statistic – the sentiment and frustration of the majority is very clear.

So, do we have the courage to stand up for something that is so patently simple, but steeped in fine, selfless practice by re-instating bedtime prayers for our children?

What about it TV stations? Please do something great for our kids!