Teach me to pray

Before we eat a meal, our children know that it is time to pray and give thanks to God. In fact, if we skip this tradition, Jackson is very quick to point out the oversight and will insist on immediately praying once he has both me and my husband’s attention.

Lauren, our 21-month-old, has taken notice of the emphasis in our home on prayer. To our delight, and I’m sure God’s too, she wants to join us in praying and thanking God.

So, with a beautiful, wide smile on her face, she clasps her precious hands and says, “Jesus, Amen!” Then, with gusto, she begins to clap and cheer! There are mealtimes when she will stop, pray, and cheer again. Each time we encourage her with smiles and cheers of our own.

Lauren

This is how Jackson began talking to God, too. His two-word prayers became “Jesus, Thank You, Amen!” and then saying one or two things he was thankful for that day. Now, as he prays, he asks God to “bless this food to our bodies.” At night when we pray together before bed, he tells God about his day, and thanks Him for different things he was able to experience, and then prays for a list of 30+ people who are important to him (you may very well be on his list!).

Prayer is indicative of the progression of your relationship with God. The more you pray and talk to Jesus, the deeper your relationship with Him grows and the more you want to talk with Him.

I’ve been convicted lately that I need more face time with my Savior. I need more protected minutes to spend in conversation with my God, time to be in His presence and to listen to His guidance. That means that other daily responsibilities (or time wasters) have to give way for more important things.

Opening my heart in Bible study this past Thursday, God greatly encouraged and challenged me. I need to use this time in my life to grow deeply into Christ—to immerse myself in His Word and instruction. This is my opportunity to be a Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet, and my time to be a Martha and work hard to guide my children and care for my family. I must be both. But, it must start with Jesus. I must serve my family as I kneel at Jesus’ feet, soaking in His mercy, wisdom and strength.

Jesus taught His disciples by example. He knew their questions and the status of their hearts. He instructed them to encourage growth and understanding.

Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.

The more I study and experience Christ, the better I can teach my children to pray, and to grow, and to live.

Last night, as I put Lauren to sleep, I sang and then began to pray for her. When I finished, Lauren reached up to me and asked, “Mommy, I pray?” Then, she proceeded to say things to Jesus I didn’t understand, and didn’t need to. She finished her prayer to the God who loves her so, and proclaimed “Amen!” Then, she snuggled back into my arms, ready to sleep in the favor and rest of our God, worthy of her trust and adoration.

Lord, continue to teach me to pray and trust you, resting in Your almighty arms!

Great Expectations

My son Jackson has officially caught the first cold of the summer in our family.

Children PrayingAfter our family Bible story last night, I took Jackson to his room and tucked him under his Thomas comforter. When we were finished singing Jesus Loves Me, I asked him to pray for us. He went through his long list of friends that he prays for every night, and then pitched it to me. But as soon as I said “Amen,” Jackson interjected, “Wait, mom! What about my nose?”

I had forgotten to ask Jesus to heal his cold!

So, we began praying again, hand in hand. I asked, “Jesus, would you please heal Jackson of his cold and help him to breathe better tonight?”

I paused for just a moment.

Before I could continue, Jackson interrupted, “Mom, what did God say?”

The expectation and urgency in his stuffy voice really convicted me. He believed with all his heart that God had just responded and wanted to know the answer to what we had asked in prayer.

This question asked in complete faith caught me off guard. My inadequate response included something to the effect that God loved him very much and would take care of him. I didn’t really answer his question. It made me reconsider my sincerity as I pray. Am I just saying the right words, or do I really believe God will answer? Am I praying in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit, expecting God to do good and accomplish His will in my life and the lives of those I lift up?

This is exactly why Jesus said to come to Him as little children. Just as Jackson believes in my love for him, He believes that God is there to protect him, to provide for him and to comfort him. There is no pretense in his prayers, just an unashamed outpouring of his heart, his fears, his needs and his requests to God. And, he expects God to be God, and to do what He knows is the very best. Jackson doesn’t know any better.

Neither should we.