Once the Emperor Henry besieged a certain city for a considerable time. The inhabitants were unwilling to surrender; so he notified them that he would give orders to his soldiers to take the city by assault, and massacre all its inhabitants to a man, even the little children. Alarmed at this proclamation, and seeing no hope left of saving themselves except in moving the Emperor to compassion, the inhabitants of the city had recourse to the following means: They collected all the little children from six to ten years of age, and after having arrayed them in procession, they made them march before the Emperor, and throw themselves on their knees, strike their breasts, and cry aloud in pitiful accents: “Have pity on us, O Emperor! O Emperor, have pity on us!” This heart-rending scene affected the Emperor so much that he could not help weeping himself. He pardoned the inhabitants of the city, and raised the siege immediately.
If the prayer of a child is so powerful with man, it is far more so with God. The prayers of children will sometimes move God, when the prayers of others will not move Him.
We read in Holy Scripture that Agar was wandering in the sandy deserts of Arabia with her little boy, Ismael. She had with her a bottle of water for him to drink. There was no other water in the deserts. When the water in the bottle was finished, she put the little boy under one of the trees and went a great way off from him; for, she said, I will not see the boy die of thirst. Then she sat down and lifted up her voice, and began to cry for the poor dying boy. Then an angel of God called to Agar from Heaven, and said: “What art thou doing, Agar? fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the boy. Arise, take up the boy! . . . And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water, and went and filled the bottle and gave the boy to drink.” (Gen. 21:17–19). So God heard the voice, not of the mother, but of the child, and He gave them water to drink. So God hears the prayers of children.
There is a feeling common to all people that the prayer of children is all-powerful with God. We know this from the revelation of God Himself: “Out of the mouths of infants thou hast perfected praise.” (Ps. 8:3).
This article is taken from a chapter in Prayer: The Key to Salvation by Fr. Michael Mueller, which is available from TAN Books.