Ian and the Gigantic Leafy Obstacle
OMF International, 1983/2002
The most common forms of prayer that my children engage in are probably prayers of gratitude and meal blessings, and those don’t often lead to tough theological questions. But as they grow and the more they ask God for specific requests, the more conversations we have about what that form of prayer is all about. How we understand God’s ways when he doesn’t answer in the ways that we asked him to? What if his timing is not our timing? How do we continue to trust his love when we don’t see immediate evidence that he is listening to us when we talk to him?
The nuances of prayer are hard to communicate to young children, but I think that Sheila Miller has done an excellent job of doing just that in Ian and the Gigantic Leafy Obstacle. It tells two intersecting tales: one of a missionary whose car is blocked by a huge fallen tree and one of a Thai man who loses an elephant. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s a great story of how God sometimes answers a prayer immediately yet we have to wait to see the evidence of his answer. It’s certainly not going to answer every question about intercession you child may throw at you. But as one simple illustration of how God is at work behind the scenes and knows the best ways to answer our prayers, it’s a great success.
This short, small paperback is a true story (which makes it even better!) and published by OMF, a missionary agency. Amazon carries used copies as well as new copies from third party vendors, but you can also find it at Sonlight or purchase it directly from OMF. I loved sharing Ian’s story with my daughter during Lent because prayer is a traditional Lenten theme (and the one that we’re focusing on this year), but since prayer is woven into the fabric of our lives year round it’s a great choice for any season.