Praying for children has been heavy on my heart during this current season of school and church buildings being closed with the need for social distancing, self isolation, and stay at home orders. I pray often that families will be able to shield children to some extent from the negative emotions that cling to this COVID-19 pandemic. This is day twenty-five of the devotions from my “The Heart of a Child” book to help each of us pray for a child of any age, including our age. Through time in prayer, this devotional journal was written to help you understand, and live, some important traits of living and praying with the heart of a child.
Here is day twenty-five with an important reminder to remain child-like even while putting away childish things.
Put Away Childish Things
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.“
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
When was the last time someone told you to grow up? Why? What is the difference between childish ways and child-like actions? Is the difference more about the action or the attitude? Explain. How does the normal growth from infancy to maturity relate to what should happen after we are born into God’s family? What are some things that keep people from growing up? Are there things you hold on to that God would view as childish? What are they? What should you do about it? What will you do?
We typically don’t fault an infant for crying when it is hungry or in need of something. We understand, and hopefully teach better responses, when they take what they want with no regard for others. However, when they carry that type of behavior into adolescence and beyond, we consider the selfishness to be very childish. When God instructs us to put away our childish ways, the starting place is usually with our attitudes. When we replace the childish attitudes of selfishness and entitlement with the child-like attitudes of sharing and generosity, we find the child within us grows toward maturity.
As you pray for a child of any age, ask God to give you patience with them and an understanding of their process of growth. Pray that the childish things in their life, and yours, would be identified so they can be put away. Pray for wisdom in knowing how to keep a child-like faith while putting aside childish ways. Pray for a spirit that longs for a maturity that seeks the good of others. Pray for the humility necessary to both change and gently guide others to growth.