Prayer and the Playground


Talking to my grandkids about prayer, I said:

“Imagine it is recess and you need to tell the teacher something important. But he is sitting and talking to the other teachers, and not paying attention to you.

“But then he begins to pay attention. He turns to you and looks at you, his eyes are focused on you, his whole face is turned your way. He starts listening carefully and taking in everything you say.”

I said, “How does that feel, inside your body? Don’t you feel a ‘click’ in your chest, or your heart? Doesn’t it feel like everything inside you is getting lined up and working the way it should?

“And doesn’t it also feel comforting, reassuring, and deeply satisfying? Doesn’t your body relax?“Then you fall right into ready communication with him, and you say everything that you need to say. And he keeps on listening to you, taking it in, looking at you steadily the whole time.”

Prayer isn’t always like that, for me, but at least I know what it *can* be like, and what I should be aiming for.

About Frederica Mathewes-Green

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author who has published 10 books and 800 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service,, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. (She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales.) She has published 10 books, and has appeared as a speaker over 600 times, at places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont, and received a Doctor of Letters (honorary) from King University. She has been interviewed over 700 times, on venues like PrimeTime Live, the 700 Club, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.


  1. Very good comparison with a teacher. You involuntarily begin to think – what is prayer for each of us? For me, prayer is a way of life. I don’t start or end my day without prayer. My parents, both born in 1949 and now in good health, created a family where there was no discord. And the question of faith, or rather, to believe in God or not, we did not have. And for me this question was not raised.

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