Toddler Worship

Can a two year old worship God?

I stood in the pew. The music soaked into my soul but all the while my attention was split between the corporate singing and being mindful of the little bodies squished around me. Those little bodies don’t ever stay still during waking hours and church is no exception. And neither should it be. The old tradition of sitting still in the pew in fear and trembling, not able to move all the while uncomfortable in stiffly starched clothes are mostly gone.  The church now is an inviting place and my children enjoy coming into our Spiritual home on a Sunday morning. Why would they not? They have friends to play with and adults who indulge them and give them attention and love. There are formalities, but when the talking gets interesting for adults but boring for young minds, they are able to disperse to various locations that cater for their age group and have fun, play games  and all the while learning about a faith that embraces their innocence and nourishes their spirit.

And at the start of church, there is music. There are hymns, (not played on an organ though) but mostly we sing songs about our God that have been composed in accordance of contemporary rhythms, melodies and strong beats.

While the band plays these tunes and people join and sing enthusiastically all around, my Toby worships. For three Sundays now I have particularly watched his involvement. Treasuring his enthusiasm in my heart in the way only a mother can.

His favourite position to worship is standing on the back of the seat in front of him and leaning against an adult. Toby is easy going and will be held by different people on a Sunday morning. Jayden, despite his tendency to be social, is being snobbish right now and making a point of clinging only to Daddy whenever he can. But that is another story.

And so I stood singing, Toby perched like a little bird in front of me as the music played. My boy bounced up and down, up and down. His eyes gleamed and he smiled. He watched and he continued his movement. It was deliberate and it was joyous. You could see him concentrating on his own rhythm and toddler bop. I watched him recognising that he was caught in the moment. This was his way of making a connection in the atmosphere he was a part of. I smiled as I watched him. And the words of the music confirmed my feelings,

“You are good, you are good, when there is nothing good in me.”

My heart overflowed with thankfulness. “Thank you Lord”, my spirit sang, “That you are good to me, that you have given me this opportunity to be a mother. To watch these little spirits blossom.”

The child in front of me continues to bop up and down, up and down. His funny little dance. This is my child who has limited concentration skills. Normally he would have lost interest.

“You are Lord, you are Lord. All creation will proclaim. You are here, you are here. In your presence I’m made whole.” The song continues.

As does my prayer. “Thank you Lord for being here. Thank you that my child can feel you.”

The worship ended, the service was concluded, the week progressed. The toddler was a toddler. There were giggles and laughter, tantrums and tears, cuddles and snuggles. And then we were back in church.  The music played and this time as Toby stood with me, once again perched on the pew in front, he swayed to the music. And swayed and swayed. He was worshipping again. In toddler style, doing what felt right at that moment.

Today, another Sunday, he stared and stared at the band. And then he started pointing the instruments after examining each person playing their craft. And then, probably copying those around him, but nevertheless in an expression of his contribution to the worship, he raised his little hand and kept it raised all while humming tunelessly.

My little Toby loves to worship. He is only two, but in his own little way he participates in the worship at church on Sunday mornings. Some may not think it is possible, but little ones are remarkably perceptive and pick up on far more than grown-ups often give them credit
for. It doesn’t matter if their worship lasts for two, five or ten minutes. It is them expressing themselves at the level they are at. No one is too young to connect with God. Because that’s the way God designed us. Mortal beings with need for an Immortal connection.

Toby, my darling. Always stay connected. Always worship. May your life give Glory to Him.

(And always keep on the helmet of Salvation Toby boy.)

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  1. That is a beautiful reflection, Caitlin. It sounds like your little one sure is comfortable at church, and it’s probably one of his highlights of the week. We don’t go to church often, but when we do we go to the children’s mass on a sunday morning which has much more music compared to the adult one. The kids enjoy it too.

  2. My children have always enjoyed music to a certain degree, but never obsessed by it. Toby will be the first one to dance when it is turned on though (perhaps the only one!) and it’s beautiful to see a natural inclination to music and how it develops.

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