Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
You may remember as we have been exploring prayer in this series of posts that prayer is something that is learned. (If you don’t remember then please feel free to refresh your memory here.)
Because it is something learned we all start out in the life of prayer as a novice. We have to grow in our understanding and practice of prayer as we follow Christ on our journey through life. However, no matter how much we grow in the life of prayer, there is an element of being a novice, a beginner, that we should hang onto all of our lives.
Jesus tells us that we should pray to God as our Father. In fact what has been called “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6 begins with the words;
“Our Father in heaven…”
Perhaps then we should replace the idea of being a novice with the idea of being childlike before our Father in prayer. Children learn everything fresh and new. They are beginners in every way in their lives. Considering how many times the followers of Christ are called children in Scripture I think we can feel comfortable using this metaphor and gain some real insight on what it means to pray like a child. As we explore this metaphor a little more closely think of it in terms of your relationship with the Father in prayer.
Children have no difficulty communicating
Children do not find it awkward or complicated to talk to their parents. In fact they will often rattle on and on about everything they see, everything they are doing or have done, and everything they can think to talk about.
At no time do they think that their parents may not be interested, or don’t have time, or would rather be doing something else. This ease and comfort is simple delight in the presence of their parents, people that they love and that they are confident love them in return.
Children understand their dependence
Children naturally understand their complete and utter dependence on their parents for everything and they have no doubt that their parents will supply whatever they need when they need it. They trust their parents to provide. When they are hungry, they know that their parents will feed them. They don’t worry about whether or not there will be food enough for tomorrow because as far as they are concerned there will be an endless supply.
Children are imaginative
Children paint vivid pictures in their minds and describe them in great detail. They don’t concern themselves with what may seem impossible. To them, anything is possible because they have not been taught to doubt.
Children speak simply
Children use simple and straightforward language. They don’t try to impress people with a large vocabulary and flowery phrases or jargon. They speak from their hearts with simplicity and purity even if all they can say is “dada.”
So what lessons do we take from this metaphor? What can we learn about prayer from children and the way they relate to their parents?
They are probably obvious to you by now so I will not insult you by spelling them out. I would only encourage you to seek to be more childlike in your prayers this week. Don’t worry about “getting it right,” just come into the presence of the Father who loves you and talk to Him as His child.