The other night I heard my dog howling. Now, our 4-year-old German short-haired pointer rarely barks or howls so it took me a few minutes to figure out what that horrible noise was. He was standing on my back porch howling his head off.
As I stepped out on the porch, I realized he was howling at the cacophony of sirens heading in our direction. It sounded like the entire fire department was on its way. After standing there for a few minutes, I realized the sirens were headed our way as fire trucks started pouring into the cul-de-sac that backs up to our house.
By this time, both my girls -- who had been in bed -- were standing in the yard trying to see what was going on. We had a limited view between the houses, so it was difficult to determine if anything was on fire.
My oldest looks at me and says, "I'm scared." After assuring her that the firefighters were there to help and that it didn't look too serious since we couldn't smell smoke, she says, "Can you pray?"
Struck dumb for a moment, I realized I hadn't even thought to pray for the people involved. I was too busy being a gawker.
We stopped and prayed for the family and for the firefighters. My daughter was much calmer afterwards and was able to go back inside and head to bed.
It took a 10-year-old to remind me that prayer is a potent tool in all situations, especially ones where we feel powerless and afraid. James 5:16 says "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Too often, our first response to a situation is to try to fix it when our first response should be to take it to God, so He can fix it.
We want our kids to take their cares and concerns to God in prayer. The only way they will learn to do that is if they see us taking our cares and concerns to Him. Model a prayer-filled life for your kids, so they will learn the habit of going to God first.
- Whenever you hear sirens, stop and pray with your kids for whomever the police or firefighters are going to help.
- When your kids tell you about a tough situation they are facing, before you offer them advice, stop and pray with them about it.
- Before you leave on a trip, pray with your kids for safe travel.
- Before your kids walk out the door in the morning, pray with them about their day.
Praying with our children and letting them see that we know God is able to handle all of our worries and concerns gives them an example to follow. And someday they just might remind you that it's time to pray.