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October 25, 2013

“Teach Us to Pray” –Disciples to Jesus (Luke 11:1)

by Brittany Tedesco

Illustration by Ron Wheeler

People are selfish by nature. We’re born that way. We want to live life for ourselves and on our own terms. Furthermore, prayer doesn’t come naturally to any of us. After all, is it not pride and selfishness that prevent us from bowing the knee to God in submission?

But how can we recognize these truths about ourselves unless we’re taught?

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14)

My mother taught me Truth and how to pray. She homeschooled my sister and me until high school, during which time the three of us regularly sat together for a mini church service. We sang praise songs while keeping rhythm with our instruments—little wooden maracas and castanets. She led us in prayer and read from the Bible and William Bennett’s “The Children’s Book of Virtues.” Those verses and stories called me to step outside of my selfish little world to see the beauty of being others-centric.

My young heart was softening ... and with each prayer we prayed together, I was that much closer to the point where I ultimately bowed the knee to Christ at a later age to accept Him as my Lord and Savior.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so excited about what staff member, Jackie Peake, has been working on here at Christian Aid: an easy way for parents and teachers to mentor children in prayer.

Before she joined our staff, we had no program for children. Now, we have Prayerline Kids, a cool kid version of our monthly Prayerline prayer calendar, complete with a story on the back of each issue.

And as Jackie’s well aware, any good story can always be enhanced by a good illustration. Enter Ron Wheeler, a professional cartoonist, lover of Jesus, and answer to Jackie’s prayers.

During his visit to Christian Aid, Ron used cartoons to share his testimony with us. Pride and selfishness nearly kept him from Christ, he told us. Seeking peace, truth, and meaning outside of Christ led him to a dead end…and finally to the point of repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Savior. That point was the beginning of a fulfilling, lifelong career as a cartoonist for the Lord.

The gospel tracts Ron has created have been distributed throughout the world. He’s designed materials for various Christian ministries, a line of Christian children’s books, and interactive computer apps to teach Bible stories to children.

“After I gave my life to the Lord, He opened doors so I could be used where He wanted me. You see, He created me with the desire and ability to be a cartoonist, and He wanted to fulfill His purposes through me. But He couldn’t use me until He had me,” Ron states.

Jackie and Christopher holding a copy of Prayerline Kids

Like Ron, Jackie knows that God can’t use the next generation until He has them. She envisions an army of men and women who bow the knee to God in prayer and find fulfillment in using their gifts and talents to serve the Lord.

The materials she’s developed are not only designed to teach children how to pray and to do it consistently, but also to prompt them to look beyond themselves to the needs of others and the work of God throughout the earth. Children learn to be less selfish. Young hearts are softened.

On a homeschool field trip to Christian Aid, 11-year-old Christopher told Jackie “Prayerline Kids gets you thinking about things you wouldn’t think of otherwise.” He went on to tell her how he’d learned about a disabled orphan girl from Ukraine and had been praying for her.

“Mentoring children in prayer will have a profound impact on the next generation,” Jackie says. She imagines Prayerline Kids “prayer circles” in homes, classrooms, and Sunday schools across the nation. She isn’t afraid to pray big prayers ... in the hope that the Lord would raise up big pray-ers.

Discover more about Prayerline Kids and download free materials at www.prayerlinekids.com

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Comments
Brittany Tedesco- posted October 31, 2013
Jennifer, thank you for your thoughtful reply. You are so right. There is no amount of praying or working for God that I can do to remove the pride or selfishness in my flesh. Separate from Christ, we are slaves to sin (Romans 6:6) and do not even seek Him (Romans 3:11). And in Christ, we are new creations (2 Cor.5:17) and our sins are separated from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). These are acts of God alone. Not from any work of mine, lest I should be able to boast (Eph. 2:9). There is no religious standard. You and I are either in Christ or we are not.
Jennifer- posted October 31, 2013
Concerning " Pride & Selfishness" As terms for those who don't measure up to a certain religious standard.... At what point is someone not considered " Selfish" or " Prideful" according to your terms? 1 hour a day of prayer? 3 hours?


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