When children gather together to fellowship in the house of God, things can get a little crazy. Revealing a beautiful side of church and family that is often squelched in the seasoned etiquette in the pews—kids are humanity unleashed.

When they come to the Lord, smeared in snacks and craft glue, He hears them. The pure and simple ways they bring requests to Him must be a daily delight in the Heavens.

As we go around the room in children’s church for prayer requests, I can see wheels turning as their turns near.

“Please pray for Daddy,” one little girl says.

“Is he sick?”

“No, he went hunting again and Mommy said she’s going to kill him.”

Sometimes they use prayer request time just to tell stories.

“Please pray because yesterday we went to the beach to go swimming and we had a picnic and I found this shell!” She pulls the shell out of her pocket and waves it around while other kids gather around to ooh and ahh.

“I found a shell last week too and it was bigger than that,” one chimes in which starts a little argument until another girl jumps into the conversation.

“Yeah well I found a pretty bottle on the beach and picked it up, and Mommy told me to put it down right now,” she emphatically recalls, then adds in a loud whisper. “I think it was BEER.”

I start waving my hands around.

“OK everyone sit down! So . . . what is it we are praying for again?”

Some days, though, I am reminded these little ones deal with big problems.

Kids at school are mean to me.

Our dog was hit by a car.

Daddy doesn’t live with us anymore.

The baby in Mommy’s tummy died.

Grandma is sick and we don’t know if she’ll make it.

We gather our hurts, fears, and even our funnies, and we take them to God. Never quietly, never perfectly, or anything more than the flawed humans we are, He sees us gathered in His name. The following weeks sometimes result in recovery and praise reports, but sometimes they don’t.

These hard life lessons are learned early on, and I try to decipher the condition of their little hearts. Deep hurts are either the foundation of great faith or the bricks that build separating walls from God—and it’is my job to help them build faith.

The only way I know how to do that is just to keep on caring, no matter what, and keep reminding the kids that in this big ol’ world, they matter to us.

And, most importantly, they matter to God.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Meg Duncan

Meg Duncan is a Christian author and columnist. Her writing takes readers to recognizable places and assures them they aren’t alone. From raising children, navigating marriage, sorting laundry piles, and avoiding carbs (or blissfully embracing them, depending on the day), she combats self-doubt with humor and grace.