New release teaches children that they can prayany time, any place, and about anything.
In That’s When I Talk to God, the husband and wife writing team of Dan and Ali Morrow tells the story of a child learning more about prayer. From thanking God for best friends and the flowers in the garden to praying for hurting people and the courage to do things that scare her, she comes to discover over the course of one sunny Saturday that we can talk to God about everything. And at the end of the book, when she asks if God ever talks to us, both she and young readers will learn about all the ways God does in fact speak to us, including one big way—through His Word.
Targeted to children four to eight, That’s When I Talk to God mirrors the day of the typical child, creating an opportunity for readers to put the practices in the story to use in their own lives. Through beautiful illustrations and an engaging, familiar character, readers can relate to That’s When I Talk to God. Children will learn to go to God with their fears, their joys, their questions, and their desires. They will also learn the hows, whens, and whys of praying to the Lord in a way they can easily apply to their own experiences. And adults will be reminded to communicate the benefit, simplicity, and beauty of prayer.
An interview with Dan and Ali Morrow, authors of That’s When I Talk to God
Q: Where did you find the inspiration for this enchanting series? Within the lives of your children or elsewhere?
We were pregnant with our oldest when Dan was came up with the idea of a boy and his grandfather talking about “something”—that eventually evolved into That’s Where God Is. The more we worked on that book, the more we found ourselves not-very-impressed with a lot of the children’s books out there that talk about God and Christianity, and we started brainstorming about what we would do differently. You start thinking long and hard about these things when you have a little one on the way!
Q: Why do you feel it is vital to introduce the foundation of spiritual truths at such an early age?
Young children’s minds are open to new concepts in a way that older children’s and adults’ minds are not. Immersing them in the faith early on takes advantage of this. It’s like teaching them their native language—we don’t wait until children are older before we start talking to them. We start from the minute they’re born, and we talk as if they understand everything we’re saying. Talking about spiritual things should be no different.
Q: Do you think that adults often forget to teach their children to talk to God other than at meal or bedtime? Why?
Unfortunately, adults are often so busy with life that they themselves don’t think to talk to God except during mealtime or bedtime prayers. I (Ali) struggle with this and I’ve been a Christian for thirty years! So if we’re not talking to God throughout our day, it’s hard to model the kind of prayer life for our children that we want them to have. I’m slowly getting better, and God is faithful to draw me closer to Him—in fact, He uses my girls to do it! They’re the ones who will say, “Mom, look, a fire engine is going somewhere—we should pray that everyone is okay.” I only thought to suggest that once or twice myself, but they’ve really grabbed hold of that kind of mindset, and now they’re very diligent and faithful to ask that we stop and pray for people whenever we see emergency vehicles out with their sirens going. And whenever we do that, it brings God back to the forefront of my mind, and I’m more likely to remember to suggest that we pray for other things in the course of our day—thanking God for creation, for health, for safety; asking Him why things are the way they are in the world, etc.
Q: How will it benefit children to learn to talk to God early in their lives?
The earlier and more thoroughly we immerse our children in the faith, the deeper those roots are going to go. And the deeper those roots go, the more stable their spiritual foundation is going to be. Kids are leaving the church in droves when they turn 18—I think that we can put a dent in that statistic if we help our kids to cultivate a rich prayer life and teach them the deeper things of the faith early on instead of feeding them “spirituality lite” in the form of Christian cartoons or isolated Bible stories.
Q: Do you have suggestions for those who purchase your story to effectively emphasize the truths presented?
Children learn through repetition. Anyone who has lived with a toddler or preschooler knows they love to read the same books, play the same games, and ask the same questions over and over. God wired them this way, and parents can use this to their advantage. Both books in the series include a variety of familiar scenes and situations that kids and parents can easily relate to. You can incorporate That’s When I Talk to God into your bedtime routine (the book actually starts and ends with a bedtime scene, so it suits nighttime reading well!) and talk about times in your own child’s life that they can talk to God like the girl in the story did. Kids also bow to peer pressure, as we all know, and parents can encourage the “peer pressure” of the girl in the story by drawing parallels between her experience and their child’s. Parents can also read through the Scriptures in the back of the book and talk about how God speaks to us through the Bible. I think emphasizing the fact that God actually does respond to us is key, because so often prayer can feel like a one-way street. By pointing out that He talks back—and identifying the times He does throughout our day—parents can help their children to avoid the common pitfall of thinking that prayer is just them talking and no one responding.