This, my friends, is my 3-year old's bedside table. It gives me hives just to look at it, and what little OCD I do have tends to go into overdrive when I walk in his room. We don't actually allow toys with them during naptimes and overnight (as clearly shown by the picture!), however Jonah has found a way to work my mama-heartstrings... he prays for his toys.
Each night, he brings the ones (dozens?) he wants to pray for into his bed and one by one he prays for them and then places them next to him on the table. Jonah is a little prayer-warrior, it's not unusual for him to pray for 5+ minutes sometimes. He's especially good at asking for protection and safety over people, objects, food, and all manner of random items. He's a bit like Goodnight Moon but with prayers.
I. Love. It.
Jonah has taken to praying extensively over his superhero collection recently. Gabe and I discussed for a bit about the 'parenting' aspect of whether we should allow him to do this- after all, they aren't real and don't exist. It bothered me for a little while, but God gave me an epiphany (thank Jesus for Parenting Epiphany's- hereafter known as PEs forevermore... copyrights to follow!)
In short, we decided we want our children praying over their superheroes.
I want them lifting them up in prayer. Sure, at 3 and 5 years old, that's most likely gonna include Superman, the Ninja Turtles, Peter Pan, Woody, Buzz, Hulk, Thor, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee... and any number of others that this mom can't keep up with. But his prayers also often include praying for the safety of David, Daniel, Samson, and Moses; he even prays for Jesus at times! I get that my son's praying for imaginary characters mixed in with long dead Biblical figures and the occasional inanimate object (he prays nightly for "mama's helicopper") may seem odd- but what a lesson he's learning!
By praying for these things, he's acknowledging that God is bigger, stronger, mightier, and better than they are. In short, his heroes, no matter how awesome he thinks they are, still need God. Because seriously... if Thor needs God's protection... then don't we all?!? The prayers for his heroes now, though make-believe, have the potential to turn into intercession for his heroes in the future- the real ones. The future friends, authors, actors, sports figures, leaders, teachers, or family that become elevated in his eyes as superheroes will need all his prayers. And that is lightning in a bottle I want to nourish! That is behavior I absolutely want to support.
So I will encourage my kids to pray for whoever, whatever, and however they want to place before the Throne. It astounds me the spiritual insight kids have, their soft little hearts feel and see so much more quickly and readily than mine does. Often they will pull out a person we know at random and lift them up- how much we as parent's should pay attention to that!
We should encourage them to pray for everyone on their hearts- the big, powerful, and mighty as well as the meek, humble, poor, and mild; because we ALL need God.
Because you never know when, somewhere on a far distant planet, Thor and Hulk may just need some helping out from the Most High....