Editor’s note: Today we start our online book club. We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on the prologue and chapters 1 and 2. Learn more about the book club here.
When I was writing The Prayer List, I asked our daughters (now in their 30s) what they remembered about family prayer from their childhoods. Ellen promptly responded by reciting the prayer we most often said together at bedtime:
There are four corners on my bed.
There are four angels round my head.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless this bed that I lay on.
Ellen said to me, “I still say that prayer. It makes me feel safe.”
Safe. Is that what prayer is for? Proverbs 1:33 says, “but he who listens to me will dwell secure / and will be at ease, without dread of evil.”
Today, we are often called “helicopter parents,” because we want so badly to keep our kids safe. We hover and keep watch and are almost afraid to let them out of our sight. I think we forget about the safety of prayer. We know that prayer doesn’t guarantee a life without troubles or tragedies. If that were true, then martyrdom would be a huge contradiction.
Praying does not protect our children from all harm, nor does it even keep them alive.
What Proverbs 1:33 says is that prayer—in particular, listening to God—will ease our fears and lift us out of dread. And that freedom from fear is what keeps us from being helicopters and keeps our children free too.
The Prayer List Discussion Questions
- In chapter 2, James is surrounded by protection twice. But his fellow soldiers died in front of his eyes or were captured. It is probably true that people were praying for their safety, but prayer doesn’t promise to keep us safe from harm. Why do you pray? Does it help?
- God doesn’t give bicycles. What does God give?
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Often I pray to help ease my fears. I feel comforted knowing that God hears my prayers, and feel hopeful that I can accept whatever His answers are to my petitions.
God doesn’t give bicycles, except if it is His will 🙂 God gives us what will help us grow into the more loving person He envisions us to be. “Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.” Psalm 37:4-5
I pray to know I am not alone. When going through difficult times in my life, praying has given me comfort of knowing God is with me. It keeps me connected to Him.