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.