It was my turn to have the children's message Sunday and so I talked about the beautiful poinsettias that had been placed in the sanctuary for the rest of Advent and Christmas. I pulled the Legend of the Poinsettia off the internet and used it to talk about giving our all to God.
Right before my prayer with the children I realized Jill, age 6 (name and age are changed) sitting right beside me. I knew Jill was to have a second round of some corrective surgery on Tuesday morning. I looked at the other kids and said, "Jill here has to have some surgery on Tuesday. I want you to join me in praying for her today."
I then offered a prayer that the doctors and nurses would take good care of her, that she would soon be over the surgery and be well, and that Jesus would help her when she got afraid. After the prayer Jill came over to where I sat and gave me a hug. Then she and the rest of the kids returned to their seats.
After the service I went up to Jill's mom and apologized for bringing up Jill's surgery without checked it out with her first. It was a spontaneous prayer and I didn't think until it was over whether it was OK with her parents to mention it.
Her mom brushed aside my comments and said, "I am so glad you did that. Jill has been insisting she was not going to have the surgery. She's been saying that she would not go to the hospital Tuesday. But she came back from the Children's Message and sat down and said, 'It's OK now, I'll go have the surgery.'"
Two things: 1) May God restore to us such childlike trust, the confidence that once you put a matter in God's hands, you don't need to worry about it. and,
2) Don't underestimate the importance of worship and public prayers for children. They know it's always more than just going through the motions
Thanks be to God for using a serendipitous moment to let grace happen once again.