5 Reasons I Encourage Selfish Prayer


I clearly remember being 8 years old and praying for a Barbie Dream House. “Dear God, I’m a good girl and my neighbor Jessica has a Barbie Dream House. I really want one too, so please give it to me. Amen.” I tucked myself into bed and imagined all the amazing things I could do with my Barbies in that dream crib. Oh, the lavish parties we would host! I never did get that dream house.

My selfish prayers continued. A few were answered (Cabbage Patch doll, anyone?), a few were not (Dear God, please don’t let my parents get divorced), but I kept on praying because it comforted me.

While I always believed in the power of prayer’s place in my life, I failed to push prayer with my kids because it somehow felt hypocritical. How could I ask them to pray when we weren’t putting religion at the center of our family? It might sound foolish, but I was more afraid of how I might answer the questions about God and church that they were sure to ask when I was struggling to answer the very same questions for myself.

About year ago we began attending church as a family at the request of Boy Wonder and it was there that my children began to witness the power of prayer for themselves…albeit selfishly at times.

Now listen, kids are inherently selfish, or at least mine are. The want for things; daydreaming long hours about Lego X-Wing Starfighters and other such expensive nonsense. When I caught my 5-year-old praying for God to bring him Legos, I paused and asked myself if this was any different than praying for a Barbie Dream House. It wasn’t.

When it comes to my children and prayer, I offer these 5 reasons why I’m totally OK with my kids making selfish prayers.


  1. I love, love this post. We’re working on prayer as well. We often recite the canned ones, such as “Now I lay me down to sleep…” but I think my four-year old is ready for personal prayers, even if they are a bit selfish. Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

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