Dear reader, in this first blog, and through the next five, I hope to show you that my storybook could be used as a valuable tool for the New Evangelisation of young children and that you might promote it.
In ‘A Prayer from the Heart’ one of the main threads of the story is the main character’s relationship with God. Chris is a 6-year-old Catholic boy who has the beginnings of a personal relationship with his Creator. Chris speaks to God during his bedtime prayers. He believes that God is listening, even though the answer to his prayers have not materialised.
In my story, all Chris wants is a friend, along his road, to play with. This is why he is praying. This is his heart’s desire and this is what matters to him. So, at this point in his spiritual life, Chris is happy to pray out loud and from his heart. He has not as yet learnt to listen to what God might have to say on the matter- either in the stillness of his heart or through any form of prophecy. At this stage in his spiritual life, a subtle whisper from God probably won’t cut it! He just wants this ‘prayed for friend’ to be physically in front of him, so that they can play!
My hope for this book is that children will see that having a relationship with God is a good thing. I also hope that they will also see how easy and natural it is. Initially, it’s just chatting to God from the heart about whatever is on their mind. My hope is that they will see that God hears every prayer and that He will answer them in His own timing. Of course, in this story, Chris’ and God’s Will are one! I like a happy ending and so I couldn’t write it any other way!
It is so important to encourage children to have an ‘alive and kicking’ relationship with God. And my belief is that this needs to start at an early age. Those early years when children believe everything that is spoken to them are the years to develop a relationship with God. As an ex-nursery teacher, I found this ‘sponge-like’ quality of children so beautiful, so trusting. Leaving ‘prayer from the heart’ till First Holy Communion preparation is too late in my view. Also, as a previous
midwife, I believe that we can take this one step further by talking to and praying over our unborn children. In this way, the unborn will be surrounded by and filled with the Holy Spirit. What a beautiful gift we can give our children! Out of the womb, a relationship with the Holy 3 in 1 will then come so naturally to them!
Faith is about a relationship and I hope that my storybook will make this obvious to every child who reads it.
When I wrote my book I had a strong desire that every Catholic primary school child should have this book read to them or to read it themselves when they become competent
readers! Yes, there are already picture books which deal with a relationship with God, but I have yet to come across one where God is depicted as the Holy Trinity on every page! This is a unique aspect to my story. It wasn’t something that I planned. God just knew what I would write and then He nudged me about how God should be expressed visually!
My inspiration to write…
I was inspired, by God, to write this story in 2015. I wrote from the depths of my heart: about my family and about God Himself. I expressed God as the Holy Trinity because of the great impression that was made upon me during my MA in Catholic Pastoral and Educational Studies (Maryvale Institute, 2011). It was while doing this course that I realised, for the first time, and at the age of 49 years, that our faith hangs on the Holy Trinity. This floored me and I never forgot it.