Teaching kids to pray can be tricky. When we talk to other people, we take in all kinds of cues, from their posture to their facial expression to what they do with their hands. They interact with us as we speak, even if they respond only with a distracted “Mmm-hmm.” But the act of prayer itself requires some degree of faith that the person you’re talking to—that you cannot see or hear (at least not in the way we’re used to)—is listening and will respond. Though they are experts at imagining the unseen, I know my daughters find this difficult sometimes; sometimes I do, too. Recently, my seven-year-old lamented, “I wish God had a body so we could see him.”
Ah, I told her. But he does! And one day we’ll see it— “No,” she said. “I mean, right now.”
And so I appreciate Laura Wifler’s book Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer and the way she translates the subject from prayer from an abstract concept to a concrete one. She gives young readers (and their parents) language to discuss this central part of the Christian life, and she does so without diluting it. She trusts that her readers can understand this idea, no matter how big it is, and she offers lots of specific examples that help children (and parents) visualize the role of prayer in the Christian life.
Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations use examples from church history and modern kid life to remind readers that prayer is for all of us, all the time—no matter how long ago we lived or how tall we are. And that whatever the size of our requests, God is eager to hear them and to hear from us. We may not be able to sit across from God and watch him respond as we pray, but Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer reminds us that he is listening. And that he will respond.
Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer: A True Story of How You Can Talk With God
Laura Wifler; Catalina Echeverri (2021)