Can children really worship – and if so is their worship as important as adult worship?

Posted by Doug Horley on 10 June 2014

“Absolutely!” is the answer I’d give to that title – and here I’ll show you why. Let’s take a look at Matthew 21 v 15-16.

“But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area “Hosanna to the Son of David” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. "Yes" replied Jesus, "Have you ever read", “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.”

The verse that Jesus quoted was from Psalm 8 verse 2 which says, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger.” For anyone who thinks that children are too young to engage in praise and worship – please think again! Because that verse makes it clear that God has chosen that praise will come from the lips of children and infants. Amazing.

It really is quite something to think that the praise of an infant will silence the devil. Picture the devil pouring out all his lies and the rubbish that he likes to throw our way and then picture a child worshipping. And what happens – the devil is struck dumb. Unable to say anything. Silenced – no sound. Absolute quiet. It’s a powerful image.

To me it speaks of several things. Firstly that children’s praise and worship really does matter to God and secondly it is incredibly powerful. Thirdly although the result is powerful it’s hard to picture a more vulnerable, “weak” and less musically trained human being than a toddler. It just points to the fact that it’s not the toddler’s “power” or ability to sing that has the effect it has, it must be God. Somehow praise triggers a release of power in the heavenly's that has nothing to do with the power (or perceived quality) of the individual's worship and everything to do with the awesome power and might of the God they are worshipping.

Also, we all know that praise is powerful but I wonder if sometimes we think that adult praise and worship is more powerful and important than children’s? This verse confirms that that is simply not true – children’s worship is important to God and it is powerful. This verse also shows that children can be involved in it from an incredibly young age as it specifically talks about children and infants. God has chosen and ordained that they will be involved in worship.

I’d always smiled a bit at the ‘Baby Boogie’ worship CDs that are out there, but the truth is that we should do all we can to help babies, infants and children engage in worship. In fact the more I study the Bible the more I realise that there are no age limits for when people can encounter God and be used by him.

Belinda and I have two children who are grown up now. But when Jamie and Luke were toddlers we used to have praise parties at bath time. I’d take an old acoustic (not electric!) guitar in to the bathroom and we’d have a bunch of fun making up songs as we splashed about. I’m quite amazed that the guitar survived all the water that must have landed on it, but it did. We carried that on for years and it was really enjoyable. I hope that for them singing and praise and worship was just part of normal life. If you have children give it a go at bath time. Unless they're teenagers of course, in which case probably not! And if you don't play an instrument use a CD player - but make sure it's battery powered!

Actually I think that some of the most powerful times of worship I’ve been in have been with children. At Spring Harvest where Belinda and I have lead one of the 8-11’s programmes for many years we’ve had some incredible times of worship with the children as we’ve journeyed with them over the course of the week. Often we’ve backed off from singing ourselves and just let them sing and worship. Sometimes that has brought an almost tangible sense of the presence of God. During one of those times recently one of our team said afterwards that he’d really thought he’d had a taste of heaven as he listened to the children worship.

Children can worship God and indeed he wants them to and their worship has power and an effect in the heavenlies. Let’s do all we can to help them worship our wonderful heavenly father – who knows what will happen as they do.


Check out Doug’s web site for other teaching materials, songs, resources and a diary with his concert dates –
© Doug Horley 2013

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