Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~Mark 10:14-15
Childlike faith. What is that even? I think as an adult it is too easy to forget what childlike anything is. Let alone childlike faith.
So a quick story for you. Recently an adult asked my son to pray for her. She had a pretty big prayer request. Kind of a more adult prayer request.* Not inappropriate or anything, but it was a serious issue. When I think of my children praying, I think of my youngest saying, “Thank you, God, for horsies, dolphins, ponies, and unicorns. Amen.” (Seriously, this is his daily prayer.) What I don’t think about them praying for is those deeper burdens that we face as adults. The kind of prayer requests that for some reason feel ‘heavy’ to me. Something in me wants to shield them from those things. From ‘adulthood.’ From life.
So, right after this friend shares her prayer request with my eldest, my three children and I pile into the car to leave. And before we’re even to the end of the driveway, my son says to me, “She wants us to pray for her.” He then proceeds to share the prayer request with the rest of us. And now all of my children and I know the burden that has fallen on this friend of ours. And I think, wow… I don’t know that I would have told little children about that… But I don’t want to let this slip by, so I said, “Let’s make sure to pray for her right now!” And we did. Right there in the car on the way home, we prayed. The rest of the drive home is talking about prayer, how I like to pray right away if someone asks me to pray for them (mostly so I don’t forget**), how we can keep praying for that person, how God knows what this person is going through, how God answers all of our prayers (but not always how we planned), and some talk about the actual prayer request… It was one of those conversations with children where I was not sure how much of what I was saying was really being heard and understood. But we made a good attempt. I patted myself on the back. Job well done Mama!
Now to dinner. My husband asks my daughter to say the prayer at dinner. She thanks God for the food and then reiterates the prayer request. Which was when I realized, not job well done, Mama! I had already moved on, I had figured my kids had too. Meanwhile my husband’s eyes had popped wide open and he was giving me a confused and questioning look across the dinner table (clearly communicating through silent parent lingo: What in the world happened today?). When she finished praying my youngest piped up, he wanted to pray too. So he says, “Thank you, God, for horsies,dolphins, ponies and unicorns. And…” then he prays for this woman too. I’m eating dinner thinking how her simple prayer request has now been lifted up to God three times. How my kids were taking this friend’s prayer request more seriously than I was. How important it was to them that they had been asked to pray. They weren’t going to just let this issue slip their mind after one prayer. And it didn’t stop there! Since then my children have been adding her to their nightly prayers, and adding to the blessing they’re asking for her. It seems like each time they pray, they boldly ask for a little bit more. With simple faith in their God, they are asking for big things. As an adult, I’m thinking, “Is that even possible?” And suddenly I begin to understand what childlike faith is. It’s trusting God to be God. It’s trusting that He can do anything He wants to. It’s not worrying about the details and what is possible or even probable. It’s simple, and it’s beautiful.
Now back to the idea that a prayer request would feel ‘heavy’ to me. Just who in the world do I think I am!? I am not God. My job in a prayer request is not to solve the problem, or answer the prayer. My job is simply to light up a neon billboard and point it at that person (whom God is already looking at), and say, “Hey! Here! You are needed and wanted here! Come and be here!” That’s it. Seeing my children pray for this person, has really opened my eyes to how simple prayer requests can be. I just keep pointing God over to that person, and I wait for His answer. I don’t have to do anything. (Well… other than pray, of course.)
All this to say, don’t undersell your children!! Their prayers are just as effective (if not more so). Watching my kids pray for this woman, has been like water on dry land for my prayer life. If they can pray like that, believe like that, and keep coming to God with expectation, then I can too. And to this friend of ours who asked a young boy for prayer- you better buckle your seat belt and put on a helmet. God is coming for you in a B.I.G. way, Girly. I don’t know what He will do with all these prayers, but it is going to rock your world.
*Just a small disclaimer here. For anonymity, I didn’t list the person or her prayer request. I don’t have permission to share it here. BUT it was not a topic that children couldn’t handle. Of course there are prayers that we don’t give to children. Topics that they aren’t emotionally ready for. But it is okay to let our kids know there is suffering in the world. It is okay to trust them with harder topics. I was totally fine with this friend sharing her struggles with my children. It was just that I would not have thought to share these kind of struggles with my children. Mostly because I would think ‘what can they do about it.’ And that is just the point- we cannot do anything. BUT GOD CAN.
**yes, yes, I’m a terrible option for your prayer requests. I forget.