Recently my attitude when I pray was changed, like most people I pray for things that affect my life, friends and community. These prayers are seriously minded, like “Lord, Please help Bill through his operation”, “God, help me find a great job”. The prayers are stiff and directed and recently my attitude has changed. My own Child’s Innocence in Prayer changed this attitude completely.
I have 3 young children 9,6 and 6 (Twins), and like most Christian parents I encourage them to pray, although again like most I find myself leading the prayer subjects. Recently, one of the twins wanted to say lead the prayer, which I was encouraged by. His simple prayer changed my perception of praying and altered my own implementation of this act of communication with God.
The prayer my son voiced was:
God, thank you for my HO trains, thank you for my brother and sister, thank you for my Mummy and Daddy, thank you for being God, Amen.
I was drawn to the words of Jesus in Mathew:
Mat 18:3-4 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
In his prayer he never once asked for something, he did not want anything; his prayer was a lesson in humility and joy to God and the things in his life that the lord has provided. Instead of spending my prayer time asking for help, I spend it thanking the lord for all the wonderful gifts that he has given me. Yes, there are times when we feel compelled to ask the Lord for something.
So, Given the wisdom and insight my son passed on to me from his small prayer, I decided that I should pose this question to him. My question was, “James, What do I do when I need to ask God for something?”. His reply, “Dad, He already knows, so why ask him”. Again my mind was blown away by the pureness and innocence of his answer. And he is absolutely correct, why pray with requests to God, when He already knows what we need to fulfill His plan for our lives.
So what do we as adults, believe we are doing when we ask God for something, reminding Him? Trying to excerpt some pressure on Him? God does not need reminding, and we certainly have no ability to pressure Him into anything. What I believe we are doing is playing some perverse lip service to our own conscience that we need God to answer our prayers for things outside our control. What we are actually doing in this is proving our total lack of faith in our Lord and Master and our lack of faith in His plan for us.
As Jesus said we need to be like children, in innocence and in faith, with an unquestioning belief and trust in God. Does a child question whether their parents will protect them, as any parent of young children will attest, this total trust in a parent’s ability to chase away the scary closet monster a 3am is never in question in a Childs mind.
So next time you need your Heavenly Father to chase away the scary closet monster, remember one thing, He already knows that you don’t like the closet monster and as such there is no reason to ask. In closing I would like to add that my son was saying pray for our evening meal, I was impressed that food is not as important to a 6 year old his HO trains.