Explain to 7 year old need for prayer

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  • Wings2fly

    We say prayers before each meal and at bedtime.  This has become habit.  At bedtime, the prayers are longest.  Last night, my soon-to-be 7 year old son said he didn’t want to pray for others.  His reason is that God is in control and God will do whatever He wants to do anyways.  He says if someone dies that it is no big deal because God wanted them to die then.  He had me stumped.  (I was impressed with his reasoning skills.)  Out of compliance to mom’s wishes more so than from the heart, he ended up saying a quick prayer.  It bothers me that he did not show compassion for others and sees no need for prayer.  Any suggestions on how to further proceed?


    We just explain that sometimes when lots of people pray God can hear all of our hearts and he might change his plan.  We know this to be true from experience, but can I prove it, NO.  Also, we know that others are praying for us and explain it’s the right thing to do to pray for others.  That’s the best I can offer.  Hope others help.  This is a great question! Misty


    It’s not much, but perhaps study/read verses together that either talk about praying to God (and why his reasoning is off) and also verses dealing with compassion/love.  I’m not sure beyond that. Sorry!

    Here are verses that could apply to insensitivity/Lack of Compassion:
    1 Peter 3:8
    1Thess. 5:14
    Galations 6:2
    Acts 20:35
    Romans 15:1
    Prov. 31:9
    Luke 3:11
    Romans 12:13
    Romans 12:20
    1 Cor 13:3
    Galations 6:10
    Hebrews 13:3
    2 Corinthians 1:3-5
    Here are some verses dealing with what happens or what should happen to the insensitive person
    1 John 3:17-18
    2 Corinthians 9:6
    Proverbs 17:5
    These references were taken from “For Instructions in Righeousness”


    It sounds like your son feels that everything is pre-destined… that God has decided exactly how everything is going to work and that is the way it is.  The problem with this thought is it can make a person feel that they have no control, that it doesn’t matter what they do (that was what God planned for them to do) and that provides them an excuse for everything.  It can make people very bitter, or to make poor choices as they feel that it doesn’t matter.   I’m not explaining it well.

    From what you said, I don’t think that your son doesn’t care about people or doesn’t have compassion – he just doesn’t see how his prayer would change anything because he has in his mind that God has already decided.


    I’m not sure how to explain how I think it really works…  I feel that we have “agency” or the ability to choose, and that our choices matter.  That said, I think that God does know ahead of time how we will choose – but that doesn’t take away our ability to choose.  I feel that God either knows us all so well that he knows how everything will turn out, or that time is “different” for God.   In this viewpoint, our choices DO matter.   I kind of see it more like a knowledgeable parent.  Because I know my children, I know what their choices would be in some situations (I don’t know them as well as God does…) – but that doesn’t take away the validity of their choice, or the consequences that may or may not follow.

    So now, how does it work with asking for help in prayers?   There are many places in the scriptures (I’m not going to look up references) where we are told that we must ask.  “Ask and ye shall receive.”.  I see it like a loving parent that sees us working hard at a task, but for our own growth, waits until we ask before helping us.  

    Now, how to explain that all to a 7yo?  Not sure… as I’m not sure I’ve even made it clear for you guys!


    Perhaps you could read from scripture about all the times Jesus prayed and also how Jesus taught us to pray and go from there.  Explain how prayer kept Jesus in close relationship to God, and how prayer enables us to build and strengthen our relationship with God; and let his prayers be about building his relationship with God at his understanding for now

    as he grows in knowledge, wisdom and faith, his prayers will change and the Holy Spirit will guide him in prayer and lead him to pray for others more freely.  Meanwhile, continue to pray for others as you pray with your son…..and talk about answered prayers with him and people who have asked for prayer….and why you are praying for others…

    Just thoughts…..

    Children keep us on our toes, don’t they?   I often think about how God has used/is using motherhood and homeschooling to strengthen my own walk with Him.

    May He guide you in the path you should take with your son,



    Thank you.  I am reading more Scripture on prayer and talking more about answered prayers.  It is an issue that will take time for him to understand better.

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