Our Prayers: Childish or Childlike?

(Day 4 of a 28-day series from First Bradenton)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”- Luke 12:32

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13

One of my adult children needed to run an errand but could not because of other obligations. It was something that I could gladly and easily do. It brought me joy to grant the request. Then I realized that our Heavenly Father also finds joy in granting our requests, when they are for our good and His glory.

However, there are times when our requests become more like demands of God. We do not pray in a childlike manner, but in a childish way. Jesus reminds us that we must have the humility of a young child when we come to him. In fact, he taught his disciples that they must become like children, or they would not enter heaven. (Matt. 18:1-4)

Sometimes children will repeatedly ask parents to grant a request. A little later they will start asking the same thing again. While Jesus warned against vain repetitions, he taught that we should be persistent in prayer. When he told us in Luke 11:9-10, to “ask, seek and knock,” some translations in a footnote indicate the meaning as “Keep on asking…” He also told of a man who continued to ask a friend for bread. His bold persistence was rewarded, and he received the bread. (Luke 11:5-8)

Sometimes we act as though an elaborate display of words will impress God. We fail to take time to listen to him. We can learn some valuable lessons from children’s prayers. It happened to me years ago when our four-year old grandson was spending the night.

As we were having bedtime prayer, he ended with his usual “Amen.” I followed with a short, simple prayer. Then he turned to me and said, “Grandma, I had already prayed,” (as if one prayer were enough.) I replied that I just wanted to talk to Jesus too. He answered, “I want to talk to him again.” He then prayed, “Dear Jesus, when we get to heaven, can we come to your house?” After a long pause, as if waiting for an answer, he added, “Okay, goodbye.”

“Father, help us to realize that a simple two-way conversation with you can be a deep, meaningful experience. Amen.”

By Pat Browning

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