Praying Hearts

candy-caneGimmee, gimmee, gimmee. I love the Christmas season, but the commercialism brings out the selfishness in all of us. Selfishness is the default response of our natural human nature.

Little children have not yet learned to recognize selfishness in their world. Wait…that’s not quite right. Children are quick to recognize selfishness in other children. When little Johnny won’t share his trucks, your son or grandson is quick to tattle. “Johnny won’t let me take a turn!”

But our sinful nature is reluctant to identify that same selfishness in ourselves. I want it, so I must have it. So we rationalize. And while it’s an unattractive trait in children, it’s even uglier in adults. If we’re honest, most of us would have to admit that it still rears its head in us regularly.

Selfishness is exposed in our behavior, but it also appears in our prayers. Do we limit our requests to us and our family, our health and success? Or do we pray for those whose interests are not even related to ours? How can we teach children to have a heart for others and to pray for others if we don’t practice this ourselves?

True selflessness occurs when our prayers do not begin and end only with self. It’s seen when our prayer time starts with a focus on praising God for who He is and recognizing how far we fall short of His holiness. It includes a time of thanking Him for His goodness in sending Jesus, and then a time of asking God to act for His glory and the good of His people. For children, this means asking God to do whatever He knows is best for us.

Of course, He already did that when He sent Jesus to earth as a baby—a baby who grew to adulthood to be our Savior.

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About Ava Pennington

Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. She moved from New York to Florida, leaving a twenty-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired! She now teaches a weekly, interdenominational Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300+ women from September through May. Of course, Ava writes. She has written for organizations such as Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, and Haven Ministries. She has also been published in 25 anthologies, including nineteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts International. Ava has also co-authored two children’s picture books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? If you’re looking for a speaker, she delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, please visit

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