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When Children Spoil Prayer

When children spoil prayerful meditation

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The water lapped at the walls of the holy place where I’d just settled into prayerful meditation. It could have been an ashram located far from human habitation, in a forest grove next to a river or beyond the last vestiges of human machinery. It could have been among the candles of a great and ancient cathedral tucked far off in the hills of rural Tuscany where the great arches of divine structure stamp out all self doubt and anxiety. For me, it seemed just about anywhere I went I kept wishing for someone to sing louder than my toddler could squeal, someone to hit a gong in Zen denotational zeal.

But that’s not happening with me, and it’s not what the forefathers of the ancient religions want you to do, either.

For Christians, the New Testament is full of references to singing and the necessity for the old and young to engage with each other in singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to celebrate the greatness of God. For Buddhists, most believe that no matter whether you’re crying or you’re sitting in silence, it is most important to stay awake and fully aware of the circumstances.

Tantrums are definitely out, but triumphant sounds to the heavens are universally acceptable!

Each week there are at least 100 million people in America sitting quietly in recollection of what it means to participate in a reasoned and tranquil church liturgy. Parents should never feel bad when their kids call out in the name of childhood. But what are the circumstances where it is and is not acceptable when children spoil prayerful meditation?


  • Hunger or Thirst

  • Dirty Diaper

  • Fatigue

  • Isolation

  • Sickness

  • Too Cold or Hot

  • Anxiety


  • Cooing

  • Babbling

  • Laughing

  • Amusement at Others

  • Wonderment





So get on with your prayer and tell everyone else to bugger off when you get the stink eye when your children spoil prayerful meditation. If it’s something you’re doing wrong, fix it and get back to revering the heavens.

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