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The Dark

Perhaps you are wondering why these prayers aren't set to be attractive to children. Why there are no flowers, and butterflies and uplifting things to look at. This is because any child, even the child within, spends more time alone in the dark than we realise. A child cries and complains more than an adult, and I don't think this is because adults have learned more self discipline. Just as a cold affects a child badly, because its sinuses are smaller than ours, so pain hurts worse, because the nerve endings are the same number, but the skin surface is smaller. A child's emotions are stronger too, not because they've got less sense, but because they have no sense of time. Which is something great mystics share with them. 
If we can teach a child that the dark is full of presence, the presence of a loving God, and refrain from teasing him about the fears that he may have, we have taught him something valuable indeed. For there is indeed, something under the bed, and in the wardrobe.. 

before me
behind me
beside me.
in the dark
in the dawning.


Dear Jesus. 
Once you were very frightened. 
You were in a garden in the dark, left alone by all your friends. 
You knew that men were coming to catch you, and take you away, and do horrible things to you, and kill you. 

Dear Jesus. 
I am frightened. 
You know how I feel, because you were frightened too.
Even though I cannot see you, let me know you are here. Be my friend, so I needn't be lonely.

You were brave and did not run away. 
Teach me to be brave with you, in the dark, 

 Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord, my soul to keep.

Nothing about a child is 'little' except its body. Its mind is growing faster than ours, its soul is as great, or greater, its heart feels perhaps more passion than we do. 
We should no more 'talk down to', or 'pray down, with' a child than we would to or withJesus himself. The last thing we should do is to innoculate a child against Christianity, by teaching it watered down truth or by using it to manipulate their behaviour. Going the extra mile does not mean you should help mummy with the dishes. (grin, those dishes belong to the whole family, so does their cleaning). Our faith isn't a way of controlling our children or even of teaching them morals and manners. Those are cultural things. Faith is, or ought to be, a way to set them free.