Teaching Kids about Wishing vs. Praying by Beth Bence Reinke

wishandprayer.jpgToday’s date is unique – 11/11/11. Did you know it is supposedly a special “wish day”? Wishing is ingrained in our culture. We wish on birthday candles, falling stars, and even numbers.

As adults, we know inanimate objects cannot give us what we desire. But when a child hears a trusted relative say, “Blow out the candles and make a wish!” she may believe the wish will be granted. How can we explain the truth about wishing to our kids?

One way to debunk the wishing myth is to compare wishing and praying. To start a discussion with your children, ask questions like:

  • What is a wish?
  • Do you think candles can hear you making a wish?
  • Do candles have ears?
  • How can a star give you a new bike?

Ask similar questions about praying, such as:

  • What is a prayer?
  • Can God hear your prayers?
  • How do you know?
  • Does God answer every prayer?
  • Are wishes and prayers the same?

To help kids and parents with this discussion, I wrote a children’s book called A Wish and a Prayer. In the story, Jason loses his parakeet when it escapes out the window. He tries wishing to bring his pet home. Then one night during a thunderstorm, he discovers something better than wishing. This book is close to my heart because helping our children understand the truth about prayer is so important.

Forget wishing. Let’s make 11/11/11 the biggest “prayer day” ever!

Beth Bence Reinke holds a Bachelor’s in biology & secondary education, a Master’s in nutrition, and is a registered dietitian. She writes articles about food, health and nutrition for magazines and websites such as ParentLife, Smart and CBN.com and is the wellness columnist for Living Light News, a Canadian newspaper. Overall, Beth has written more than 120 articles and numerous devotionals for publication. Her latest assignment is writing for Adventure, a devotional magazine for 3rd & 4th graders from LifeWay.


  1. Nikki Bethea says

    We have Beth’s book, A Wish and A Prayer. It is a cute story that teaches kids the importance and power of prayer.

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