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The mother of the dear children for whom “ Mamma's Bible Stories” were originally written, has been requested to prepare some short Prayers for young children. She feels the difficulty of the task — the difficulty of imploring blessings, upon which an eternity of happiness depends, in the simple and artless language of childhood; but, having herself experienced the want of some such little manual of devotion among her own children, she is encouraged to attempt it. It is sometimes said that extempore prayer is preferable to any forms, however simple. This is undoubtedly true: but when it is considered how readily the infant mind is attracted by external objects; how much more disposed to dwell upon
things that are seen and temporal, than upon the things that are unseen and eternal ;” who can wonder that it is often difficult, nay, impossible, to fix the attention in such a manner as exclusively to adopt an extempore method of supplication.
The writer usually conducts the evening devotions of her own beloved little group according to the following plan. After the reading, verse by verse, of some simple portion of the Scriptures, or a Bible Story, with the questions to which it naturally gives rise, and the repeating or singing of a hymn, she endeavours to recall to the remembrance of her children, the providential occurrences of the day—the blessings they have enjoyed—the kind friends by whom they have been surrounded—the happiness of their homethe little acts of self-denial they may have been called upon to exercise, and the opportunities they have had of showing kindness to each other. Any failings, or unkind words or actions that have been observed during the past day, are also brought to their recollec
tion; and, in addition to the prescribed form, her little ones are encouraged to introduce language of their own, suited to their peculiar cases, and referring to the various circumstances of each.
When children make use of their own expressions only, there is a danger of their prayers becoming desultory or familiar; while a short form serves to fix and concentrate, as it were, the attention, and to direct it more entirely to those glorious Gospel truths, which, if not at the time fully comprehended, are still likely, by this means, to be indelibly imprinted on the
The writer has frequently been asked at what age she begins to impart religious instruction to her children. Her reply has invariably been :- As soon as a little child can speak, let it be taught to lisp the name of Jesus — of that gracious Saviour who said, - Suffer the little children to come unto me," that so it may never remember the time when it was unacquainted with that blessed name, which is above every name. As its little mind unfolds, tell it of its