As children learn to include a prayer as part of their bedtime preparations, sometimes they might get the idea that praying is just for bedtime.
In the childen’s book That’s When I Talk to God, husband-wife writing team Dan and Ali Morrow and illustrator Cory Godbey tell the story of a child learning that one can talk to God anytime! Targeted to children ages 4-8, That’s When I Talk to God teaches young readers (and listeners) to go to God with their fears, their joys, their questions and their desires. They will also learn the hows, whens and whys of praying to the Lord in a way they can easily apply to their own experiences. And adults will be reminded to communicate the benefit, simplicity and beauty of prayer.
“Young children’s minds are open to new concepts in a way that older children’s and adults’ minds are not,” says Ali. “Immersing them in the faith early on takes advantage of this. It’s like teaching them their native language—we don’t wait until children are older before we start talking to them. We start from the minute they’re born, and we talk as if they understand everything we’re saying. Talking about spiritual things should be no different.”
One problem the book addresses is how adults often forget to teach their children to talk to God throughout the day. “Adults are often so busy with life that they themselves don’t think to talk to God except during mealtime or bedtime prayers,” Ali says. “I struggle with this and I’ve been a Christian thirty years! If we’re not talking to God throughout our day, it’s hard to model the kind of prayer life for our children that we want them to have.”
She says she’s getting better about praying more often—and that sometimes it’s her own daughters who remind her. “They’re the ones who will say, ‘Mom, look, a fire engine is going somewhere—we should pray that everyone is okay.’ I only thought to suggest that once or twice myself, but they’ve really grabbed hold of that kind of mindset, and now they’re very diligent and faithful to ask that we stop and pray for people whenever we see emergency vehicles out with their sirens going.
“And whenever we do that, it brings God back to the forefront of my mind, and I’m more likely to remember to suggest that we pray for other things in the course of our day.”