I would like to say that I pray every night with Turner, but I miss some nights here and there. The effort is there, but sometimes I still fail. His prayers are what you might expect from a little boy. They are short and are for those things he is thinking of right then. Every so often, he throws a wonderfully heart-felt request into the prayer, and I try to really cover him with praise for those.
Over the last few days, though, I have had the privilege of praying with Mary Carol two nights. If you know her at all, you know she is all heart. I have never been around another child (remember she is only six years old) who cares for people more than she does. In many ways, our job as parents is just to not mess her up!
Leah prays with Mary Carol every night, but she has been away a couple of nights this week, so I have filled in. Leah and Mary Carol take turns, and it has fallen on one of Mary Carol’s turns. So, I just lay there and listen to her pray…
…and I learn that I need to pray more like her.
Why? Here are a few reasons.
1. She isn’t worried about time. Mary Carol doesn’t do anything quickly. Sometimes that drives me crazy, but I’d listen to her pray forever. And, on these nights, I thought I might just be headed for that. My prayers are often quick little statements–and there is nothing wrong with that–but hers are long, drawn-out, thoughtful conversations. She doesn’t care if it takes 30 seconds or several minutes. Whatever is on her heart is coming out, without a single thought of time.
2. She is extremely specific. Sometimes, that is a little humorous. For example, the other night she prayed for our house, our furniture, our doors, our floors…and on and on. But that makes me wonder, do I just pray in general terms, or do I really take what is on my mind before God’s throne? Too often, it’s easy to just say, “Be with the sick,” instead of taking the time and effort to name people. Of course, this is one example among many.
3. She is thankful, and she knows why. Speaking of praying for specific things, Mary Carol thanked God for our beds because “We don’t have to sleep on the dirty, nasty floor.” Now, of course Leah keeps an immaculate house (bonus points!), but Mary Carol not only was thankful for her bed, she knew why. I need to take more time to count my blessings, but also to consider the reasons why those things are blessings. Then, I need to take the time to thank God for them!
4. She trusts God fully. Last night, I had to blink a few extra times while she prayed. She mentioned Jesus dying on the cross, and then she said that He raised up. In fact, she prayed, “Nobody got Him up; He raised ‘hisself’ up.” But my favorite was when she said, “You said you’re getting a room ready for us, and we’re thankful for that.” There is no questioning with her that God’s Word is true and that there is no reason to doubt anything He says. I wish I could say that I am like that, but we all doubt at times. My prayers need to reflect a far deeper trust; a more child-like trust.
Thank you for the blessing of hearing my daughter pray. Thank you for Leah and for her teaching Mary Carol about prayer and about trusting You. Please help Mary Carol and Turner to never lose that depth of trust in You.
Father, please help me pray more like my daughter. Help me to trust You and be less concerned with time and more concerned with communication.
In Jesus’ name,
What do you learn from the prayers of a child?