Originally, I was excited to receive this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
My kids looked at it and were excited about me reading it to them. Yet, I felt that I should read it first and I’m glad that I did.
This book includes a cd in its front cover and a page full of stickers (all good things that children like). It also has songs written in the book to go along with the cd.
The overall message of this book was good, but there are a few things that concerned me about its content.
After passing the first page with the list of songs and the words to the first track of the cd, the children are introduced to the topic of this book, “What is PRAYER?”
I type these letters in all caps and a bold font because that is how they appear in this book. There are a few other times when we will find key words in bold letters within the book, as seen on the cover.
It would seem that the age range for this book is 5 or 6 years old and under. However the text of the book is a little too advanced for this age range. I don’t think that this book would appeal to an older child.
When the author Stephen Elkins begins to explain prayer to the children, one of the first statements is
Some people think prayer is asking God for the things they WANT. The Bible says prayer is TRUSTING GOD to give us the things we NEED.
The following page explains that “God is not a magic genie who lives to serve us.” While I agree with this statement, the first quote is not a Biblical statement to use in introducing prayer to a group of children that are 6 and under. After addressing this topic of “God not being a magic genie”, the author explains that “prayer is simply talking and listening to God.” It is my opinion that this is all that a child in this age group needs to understand about their fellowship through prayer with God. To mention the other topics, make the book too complex for a child that is simply a babe in Christ to understand. These topics are ones that need to be addressed with an older group of individuals that can comprehend the problems that arise in some individual’s prayer life. Still, the complexity of the topics are not the only reasons for my objection to them being used within this book. There is also the truth that could be found in scripture.
Proverbs 34:10 “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.” NASV
Because of the ill intentions of some, the rest of the body of Christians have been condemned for asking God for the things that they want. We are encouraged to only ask God for what we need. And when we do that we are to assume that He may not give it to us, but to hope that He does. I challenge this way of thinking with the Scriptures that are found in the Bible.
James 4:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” KJV
Although we are to go before the Lord humbly with the right intention in our hearts, we are to cast all of our cares on Him. We are not to withhold the wants and only submit the needs. We are also to believe that He will, in His infinite wisdom and sovernghty answer our prayers how He sees fit. The Bible does not hold us accountable for His answers to our prayers. Instead, it tells us not to ask with the wrong intentions nor as a double minded man. James 1:6-8; 4:3.
This topic could be discussed for a very long time, but my concern is that these topics are too complex for young children and should not be introduced in this manner.
My final concern with the text is the prayer in the back of the book. It includes a statement that we as adults understand and could pray without any problems occurring within us, but this may not be true for a child.
“You are mighty and I am not.”
I believe that this could have been worded in another way that would help a child understand the awesomeness of God and our human condition. Yet, when we are in Christ, we are new creatures and we have to remind our children of this as well. If the content of this book dealt with another topic where this sentence was appropriate, I think it would be ok, but it doesn’t.
Overall, it seems that there were topics that the author felt needed to be dealt with at a young age as parents are training up their children. Although I agree with this frame of mind, I do not think it was done properly in this book. Perhaps more pages could have been added to deal wit the topic.
For these reasons, I did not read this book to any of my children. There are certain sections of this book that I honestly love, but they do not, in my opinion out weigh the messages that are communicated to children throughout this book without Biblical support and in an age appropriate way.
I know this review seemed very negative, but this is what comes across through reading this book. It is more important that children that prayer is a way of building a relationship with God. We are able to talk to and hear from Him all of the time. We as adults have to build their faith in Him.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
If we foster a healthy relationship with God, we can help our children to do the same thing. However, if all we do is treat God like a genie, then our children will do the same thing. We are to honor God in all we do and have thankful hearts toward Him in our approach of prayer. On our knees should be a posture of our hearts constantly. As we love to come to God in fellowship…our children will understand that and do the same.
(Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book)