Author Interview: Denalyn Lucado

CLJ was thrilled recently to have an opportunity to speak with Denalyn Lucado, co-author, along with her husband, Max Lucado, of the lovely new children’s book, Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers: Prayers for Bedtime and Every Time of Day!

Here’s a peek into our conversation:

CLJ: We’ve had a chance to look at your beautiful new book, and it’s just precious!

DL: Isn’t it? They did such a great job! I love the artwork! The title describes the book perfectly. It is like a treasure book intended for parents to share with their children, and children with their parents. Parents can hold the big book and kids can point out the fun pictures. By the pictures, they will recognize prayers that they like or that speak to them.

CLJ: The padded cover makes it something nice to cuddle up with in bed.

DL: Yes, it is. And it’s a beautiful book.

Q: Please tell us about how this book came to be.

A: Well, Max wrote a book called Before Amen, a book about prayer. Publishers are so great with ideas, and Tommy Nelson, the children’s division of Thomas Nelson (which is all Harper Collins now), wanted to do something for children. They came to Max and asked if he could write some prayers for children. He did not have the time, so the publisher asked if I could help. It piqued my interest because I really do believe in the power of prayer, and I’ve been part of a prayer ministry for a long time. I just see God doing wonderful things when people connect with Him. And it’s so often in prayer, really.

I’m so quick to say “no” to extra things, but this was a “yes” in my heart right away. I thought, “This is good! If children can learn to pray when they’re young—really pray and really connect with God and try to hear Him and be led by Him, that’s going to affect our world. It’s going to affect our churches, our cities.” That was the “yes” in my heart. So that’s how it came to be.

Q: Can you tell a bit about the process of writing the prayers?

A: In writing the prayers for the book, I drew on what I’ve been learning in my Inner Healing Prayer Ministry. I tried to use unique little simple prayers, just about God being near and close—God is great and strong and He’s our defender. He can heal us. Those things that I’ve been learning did influence the simple prayers that we wrote for children.

I think the publisher gave us a list of themes that they wanted to be covered, so we tried to follow those themes. We would write separately. Some-times in my quiet time I would think of something. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I was an elementary education major and my mom was always making up poems when I was growing up. And I can rhyme, so those things made me believe I could do this. I think this kind of came out of my own desire for children to learn [to pray] at a younger age. I would just sit down and say I really want kids to know God can heal them and that He can go deep—to know that God, when I’m scared at night, can keep and protect me. And then I can have peace and I don’t have to be afraid. Going to Him will change the situation in my heart and even the atmosphere in my room.

This project was fun to do, and I appreciated the opportunity. It blessed me to get to do this.

Q: What was the experience like, to get to collaborate with your spouse?

A: It was fun! It was kind of funny to think, “Oh wow, I’m doing a project with Max!” Usually he has his projects and I work on other things. To hear him say “That’s good!” when he read my prayers was fun! We wrote separately and then read the prayers to each other. Then we might tweak or finish lines for each other.

Q: Do you have a favorite takeaway from the project?

A: Hearing my husband, the author, say “That was really good!”

Q: We hear you are going to be grandparents soon?

A: Yes, May 15 is the due date for our first grand-baby, a little girl.

Q: Did the experience of becoming grandparents have an impact on this creation?

A: Yes, the anticipation of reading these prayers with my grandchildren was a thrill to me. In my 50s, I just have a greater understanding of life, and my prayer life is different now than it was when I was raising my own children. So I’m excited to share these prayers at this age with my little one.

Prayer is so mysterious, and it can sometimes just feel weird, or sometimes feel like I’m just saying words and checking that off my list for the day. But, when my kids were small, I joined a Moms in Prayer group. It was one of the best things I did as a young mom because Moms in Prayer is so strong in teaching praying scripture for your children. And now I think that’s just the most powerful thing you can do for your kids—to pray God’s word into their lives and over their lives, because His word is alive and active. Moms in Prayer really influenced my prayer life. I appreciate that ministry and I bet there are a lot of women around the world who were influenced and trained to pray by Moms in Prayer.

Q: In Before Amen, Max says there’s no right way or wrong way to pray.

A: Yes. There are no magical words. It’s just me asking God for what I need and praising Him and thanking Him and confessing. God hears every word. Even if it’s just “help,” He hears it.

Q: Max has said it’s important to open the door to prayer while children are young and before it becomes intimidating. Why do you think it becomes intimidating and how can parents help address that with this book?

A: Children are so trusting. They are so willingly vulnerable. They are just so innocent, and faith comes so easily to little children. So if they can begin to really know God and understand that they can talk to Him any time they want, whether they’re happy or they’re sad, if they’re hurting or if they don’t understand—it’s such a good thing. I don’t think I understood that when I was growing up. It’s such an advantage for them, if while they’re little they can begin to develop a conversation with God Almighty and understand the way He is in them and is with them. That is true equipping of your children. We know we cannot prevent hard things in their lives. They’ll lose contests and they won’t be picked for the team sometimes. There’s cruelty even in children, and I think the best way we can equip our kids to deal with the hard things is to teach them about God and how they can have a relationship with Him and that they can call upon Him, and to teach them that they can forgive people and that God forgives them. It’s such a privilege and responsibility to teach our children about God.

Q: What is your greatest hope for how this treasure of a book could make an impact on parents?

A: We didn’t create everything about this book. There was an artist and there were many writers who wrote prayers, and God’s word is in this book as well. The gifts and talents of several people went into the creation of this book. I really think this book will be very helpful to parents as they teach their children to pray. It can be a fun experience. It can be a go-to if there’s a hard day. I think it’s a sweet book that could be a really great tool for parents, even for parents who feel awkward about prayer or who aren’t real sure about prayer. I believe this book could bring everyone in the family together to learn how to pray.

Max’s short but powerful introduction to the book does a great job of explaining how we would love for this book to affect families. We hope this book will help parents teach their children to pray, to give and receive forgiveness, to hope, and to understand that God cares about each of us.

Q: How did you help make faith and prayer priorities in your children’s lives when they were young?

A: Well, when they were really small, we would read fun Bible storybooks, using character voices. Then when they were a little bigger, we would have the girls act out Bible stories. The most fun one was when they acted out being the children of Israel wandering in the desert. We had manna—vanilla wafers—fall from heaven via the ceiling fan!

As they got older, we would try to have devotionals. Sometimes that would be hit and miss. But as parents, we just have to be strong and courageous. We can’t be intimidated by our children’s initial reactions to things we try to promote in their lives.

I would tape Scriptures to their mirrors at night so they would see it first thing in the morning. I would speak a Scripture over them before they walked out the door. Sometimes they rolled their eyes. But in more recent years, I’ve heard them tell people about that experience and what it meant to them. The richest thing we can do for our children is to put God’s word in their life and pray it into them and over them and around them and for them.

I remember our oldest had insomnia, and I started walking through our house and praying for God to come and protect. It’s a powerful thing we can do and you don’t have to be in a certain place to pray.

Another thing we did—each day of the week would represent a people group, like Monday = missionaries, Tuesday = teachers, Wednesday = family, etc., and that’s the group we would pray for that day. And we would always end the day with prayer with each child individually at their bed-side.

Q: The book includes both classic prayers and new ones you wrote. Do you have any favorites?

A: Yes, “Shoo!” (p. 94) is a favorite. “Thunderstorms are big and loud, Especially in the night, When thunder makes a boom, And lightning makes the light. Sometimes I am afraid And I don’t know what to do. I pray to You, sweet Jesus, And you tell my fears to ‘Shoo!’” I love that one!

Another fun one I did is “From A-Z” (p. 70), which thanks God using all the letters in the alphabet. “Good Night, Jesus” (p. 148) is also a favorite. I would say this one while kids march around the bed.

Q: A couple of prayers really touched my heart, too. “Good Night, Jesus,” which you just mentioned, is one. It is so comforting! It has such sweet illustrations as well, with the soft bunnies, and colorful butterflies and flowers. “Keep me Close” (p.158) is another favorite.

A: “Keep me Close”—I think Max wrote that one. I love the artwork on that page! Lisa Alderson, the illustrator, did a beautiful job with this book. Kids need to know God will comfort them. And the illustrations in this book do a good job of communicating peace and comfort.

God says He is love. I believe that is His main characteristic. Our children need to learn how much God loves them. That will transform them. The more we understand His love for us, the more that love pushes out all the rest. If I receive the love, then that starts filling me up and I start leaving behind the things that don’t honor God.

Q: Do you have any last thoughts you want to share?

A: God bless you in your work!

But I can remember very few options cheap levitra but as you she already understood exists and lies in a free access to whom not necessary. Perhaps even cries and tears are much warmer than it than at the person.