Connect with us


Pray Like a Child

Prayer is one of those places where we reflect that child-like heart.

Spread the love



Sitting in my room one evening, enjoying some quiet, one of my children burst in through the door and said, “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” I asked.

“That sound. It was a boom or something,” he said. He stared at me with eyes wide while one hand clung to the door handle.

“I didn’t hear anything. Maybe it was distant thunder,” I responded.

He ran over to me, climbed into my bed and pulled the covers over his head. From underneath the quilt came his muffled voice, “Mom, can you pray for me? Please?”

Dishonest Prayer

My son’s response to his fear of thunder is convicting. That’s because prayer isn’t the first thing I do when I am feeling anxious or afraid. When I face a challenge in my day, I usually try to work it out on my own. Then I might worry about it for a while. Or I might text a friend for some advice.

When I do seek God in prayer, I often think I need to do some work on my life first. Rather than coming before him as I am, I try to clean myself up a bit and tidy up around my heart. I might even try to get a head start on finding a good solution to my problem before I share it with him (you know, to help him along in the process — as if I could!).

And then when I do finally pray, I’m not always honest. My prayers aren’t real or authentic. I pretend to be someone I’m not. I don’t dig deep and voice what’s really going on in my mind and heart. I don’t admit to the depths of my sin; my confessions only graze the surface. And rather than fully engage in prayer, I hit the highlights as though I am reading my weekly shopping list. In truth, my prayers end up sounding more like a Twitter update than a conversation with my Father in Heaven.

Pray Like a Child

Child-Like Prayer

Jesus once told the disciples that they needed to become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:2). I think that prayer is one of those ways where we reflect that child-like heart.

From their earliest moments in life, children know that they are dependent on us for everything. They know that we provide them food, comfort, and help. They call out to us right away when they are hungry or hurt. When they have a bad dream, they run right into our bedroom and tell us all about it. In the same way, God wants us to be dependent on him. He wants us cry out to him, to seek him for help, to rely on him alone. The reality is, we are completely dependent upon him. It is God who gives us life, breath, and everything else (Acts 17:25). We are nothing and can do nothing apart from his grace (John 15:5).

Children are also free of pretense. They come as they are. Sticky hands, grimy faces, and dirty clothes — young children don’t try to hide the messy reality of their lives. I can’t count the number of times I have had to point out to one of my boys the food remains stuck on his face and then help him wipe it off. Being messy and disheveled is a constant condition of childhood and children don’t try to pretend otherwise. We ought to come to God in prayer the same way, exactly as we are, sin-stained, broken, wounded, and in need of the help only he can give. It’s reality of who we are. God already knows everything that is on our hearts (Psalm 139), why pretend otherwise?

Why We Can Pray Like a Child

It’s only because of Jesus that we can come to God like a child. The gospel tells us that Jesus came to break down the barrier of sin that has stood between us and God since the Fall by taking the punishment we deserved. The curtain in the temple ripped in two when he cried out and breathed his last. This act demonstrated that things were forever changed between mankind and his Maker. Sin no longer blocked our way into God’s presence. By faith in the finished work of Christ, we can boldly enter into the Holy of Holies.

Like a little child who sticks their grimy hands in our face so we can help lift them up to the sink and wash the dirt away, we can come to the throne of grace exactly as we are. We can come into the very presence of God, cry out to him, bring all our sin, shame, and sorrow before him, and receive the cleansing he offers through the gospel of Christ. Hebrews sums it up like this: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

There are many things about childhood we ought to leave behind. But when it comes to dependence and complete reliance upon our Abba, our Father, we need to be just like little children. This is never more true than in our prayer life. We need to come to him just as we are, empty handed, sin-stained, and in great need of his grace.

Just like a child.

Spread the love

Christina Fox received her undergraduate degree from Covenant College and her Master's Degree in Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She writes for a number of Christian ministries and publications including Desiring God Ministries and The Gospel Coalition. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey Through the Psalms of Lament (Christian Focus, 2016). You can find her at, @christinarfox and

Welcome to Ungrind!

Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?

If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.

So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!

Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor

Get Our Free Ebook!

Sign up to receive weekly emails from Ungrind and you’ll get the free ebook, Better Together. Be encouraged by stories of hope from women just like you!

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"I'm in love with the conversations happening at Ungrind. The editors and writers have taken such care to develop a welcoming and authentic place on the internet for 20 and 30-somethings. When I click through the articles, a sense of connection overcomes me as I feel like the author is speaking straight to my needs as a 30-something and this makes me want to come back and interact more often. Thank you, Ungrind, for dedicating your time to encourage and lift up this generation.

-- Sarah Martin, author of Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama

Featured Resource

"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"

-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages


We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.



Pray Like a Child

by Christina Fox time to read: 4 min