Training a mystic: Teaching children imaginative prayer


As we were just sitting down for our prayers before bedtime, Miss F (aged 3), cradling her arms looked at me and said,

“Mummy, look, it’s baby Jesus!”

I paused for a moment, not quite sure how to respond. After a moment’s consideration, I decided to go with where her pre-school imagination was taking her.

Awww, Baby Jesus, you’re so small!” she continued while stroking Jesus’ hair.

What would you like to say to Jesus?” I asked.

She looked at me for a second and then, turning her attention to her cradled arms said, “I love you baby Jesus.”

After a few more strokes of his hair and rocks of her arms the moment was gone, we went back to our usual ‘thank you’ prayers.

How often are our own intimate prayer moments as fleeting as this pre-schooler’s imagination prayer? There are moments where I close my eyes in prayer and I can almost feel Jesus’ breath as he stands before me. It’s intimate but fleeting.

It seems to me that teaching our children to pray in less formulated, more imaginative or mystical way is giving them to tools to enter a lifelong journey of faith. I didn’t set up this interaction but I think that by choosing to follow her lead I’ve discovered a new way for us to pray, as together we approach our baby King Jesus.


  1. Joe says:

    This is really interesting – would love to see/hear some other applications and interesting stories!

    1. theologybee says:

      We’ll have to try some different scenarios out and report back!

  2. Elle Cronin says:

    I love those moments! It’s not surprising that Jesus talks about faith of children when they so calmly speak to God without hesitation about whatever is in their heads. My little one recently explained that God made her on her toes running really fast. It was not the answer I expected but it had such innocence.

    1. theologybee says:

      Yes! I think that some adults can find that quite intimidating.

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