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Book Review: My First Book of Prayers by Claire Freedman, Illustrated by Alison Atkins

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Children are small, and God is big; so big that He can seem nearly incomprehensible to little minds and hearts. Is it any wonder that little ones often feel stumped when communicating with an awesome being? The truth is, though, that God wants us to approach Him as little children – with honest, simple words – the way Jesus teaches us to pray. He cares for our little ones and wants to hear them expressing their hearts to Him.

The slender children’s gift book My First Book of Prayers by Claire Freedman presents a selection of brief, real prayers that deal with a variety of common childhood emotions and circumstances. Grouped topically, short accessible prayers are listed under subject headings such as “My Family,” Special Days,” “Thanks for Food,” “I’m Scared,” and other topics of deep interest and relevance to children.

Each prayer is a realistic model of conversational prayer, though they don’t entirely follow the model set out for us in the New Testament. Few are the inclusions that are addressed to the Father in the name of the Son, but the content is both charming and a realistic expression of faith.

Dear Lord,
Sometimes my brother and
sister shout at each other.
I don’t like it.
It makes me feel sad inside.
Please help them not to argue.
Then we can all be happy.
I’m glad I can tell you this,
Lord.
Amen.

These aren’t formal, flowery prayers to memorize and recite by rote, but are written to provide a model for what the authentic prayers of children may sound like. I appreciate this heart-felt and authentic response.

Alison Atkins’ colorful illustrations grace each two-page spread with colorful watercolor and pencil illustrations of children, pets, family, and special events. Thanks to Atkins, my little ones really enjoy browsing through this title.

If, as a parent, you struggle to find age-appropriate words to help your children express their feelings in prayer, My First Book of Prayers is great to leaf through and find some examples to work from. The hardcover binding and slightly padded front cover will ensure a life of long use in your home.

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