George Stone Elementary School is located on the Union College campus and has a Seventh-day Adventist focus. It is a self-described teachers-training laboratory. 

Their mission statement reads: “The George Stone School family exists to enable teacher candidates to grow and develop skills in a multi-grade setting that encourages students to fall in love with Jesus, teaches them to think, and empowers them to serve God and others.”

When and Why Kids Pray

I recently visited to ask students about their favorite Jesus stories and if they have any questions for God. Most of the children, who were in grades 3-8, were comfortable answering the questions, and full of passion when they did. 

The most common answers for “What is your favorite story about Jesus?” revolved around His miracles, such as turning water to wine and feeding the five thousand. They also mentioned when Jesus gave His life for us, and “His resurrection.” The way that many children spoke about Jesus strongly implied that they saw Him as more of a supernatural being, rather than a human. 

When I asked the students about their prayer habits, I received mostly consistent answers. Many prayed during the school-scheduled prayer times, but most also prayed at home before their meals and before bedtime.

The older students said that they prayed before stressful events, or whenever they felt like they needed emotional support from someone.

One student answered, “whenever I need a close friend.” 

I also asked students what they prayed about. Most said “safety for my family.” Some spoke about how scared they were of COVID-19 and of losing their family members. Others pray about how grateful they are for food, scoring well on tests, or they pray about their drama with friends. A fifth-grader spun it in a more positive way and said they “just chatted to God” about positive things in their lives.

Questions for God

The questions that the students said they’d ask God were fascinating. Here are a few: “Who is God going to take to heaven?” “Can we go back in time and see those Bible stories happen in real time?”

One student wanted to know “What does God eat?” and the other fifth-grader asked, “What did Jesus and the disciples talk about during free time?”

Another student asked the more personal question of “What was I like as a kid?” 

After I interviewed the students, I was reminded of childhood innocence combined with spiritual health. In Matt. 19:14 (NIV) Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

How often do we, as adults, worry too much about our spiritual health? 


Alex Donahue is a student at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.