St. Anthony must like kids…or at least my kids, because it seems as though they always find whatever they are praying for. (Not so for me.) Once their aunt called long-distance to ask them to pray for a lost wedding ring. They did, and five minutes later, she called to say she’d found it–in a huge load of laundry.
This morning, 7-year-old Andy couldn’t find his coin purse. This was a big deal, since he planned to use his money to buy himself hot lunch. (We’re too cheap and too wary of school food to shell out for hot lunches ourselves. $2.50 a day! Back in our day….) He looked and looked, but it was only after praying for help that he found it. (He reports having mashed potatoes and some unspecified meat.)
I am of two minds about praying to find lost items, especially with kids. On one hand, I don’t want to inculcate a “magical” understanding of God in my kids–i.e., prayer as a way to magically get what you couldn’t get otherwise. Nor do I want them to have an understanding of God as fast-food clerk (“Here to serve you, your way, 24/7!”)
On the other hand, God seems to be leading the way here. They pray, God gives them what they want…who am I to interfere? We have been careful to place all of these “lost and found” prayers in context: “You know, we don’t always get what we want when we pray. God is not magic or a machine; God is like a friend or a parent. He always gives us whatever is best for us.” Sometime in the future God may lead them to a more relational prayer life. But for now, something tells me he delights in their simple faith.