When I was 16, I was not the typical teenager. I never believed that I had all of the answers to life. I only believed that I had most of them. Then I went to college, And I thought I had a little more answers to the issues of life. Then I started full time ministry, and somewhere along the way, I lost a few of the answers that I had previously gained. Then I got married. I lost a few more answers. Then we had children, and now the question has become, “Do I know anything?”
Being a Father has been one tremendous blessing/ teaching tool from God. I have learned a lot of things I did not know before. I won’t go into all the details (you parents already know them anyways.) But It never ceased to amaze me =, the lessons that I can learn from my Daughter (now 20 months old.)
I have learned what pure joy is as I look on her smiling face. I have learned what unwavering faith is as I watch her be care free while soaring in the air (because she knows her daddy won’t let her fall) I have learned what it means to be un-biased in who I show love to, as I watch her smile, wave, and talk to any and everyone. Regardless of their age, build, or color. But the other day, I learned another lesson from Jacy.
Our nightly routine has been that following her bath time, she drinks a healthy amount of milk, then we go off to her room. I tell her “it’s time to pray” and watch her as she folds her little hands together. We bow our heads and say a quick prayer of thanksgiving, then we tell each other good-night. (She knows we are to be quiet while we pray, sometimes she will even look at mommy or daddy(while praying) and say “shhh!”)
This has been our routine for some time now.
The other day, Jacy needed a nap. It was about 5:00 P.M. I went to go lay her in her crib, but she wouldn’t let me. She began to cling to my shirt, so, I pulled her back up. It was then that the lesson was taught. She folded her hands together, and said “dada pway”.
I honored her request, then began to think on what just happened. Jacy reminded me of a very valuable truth. We don’t JUST pray during the traditional times. Our prayer life is a constant relationship with our Father.
How Often Do We Pray?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18- Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We know the verse. “Pray without ceasing” sure makes for a nice saying to hang on the wall, or a neat devotional thought. But, are we really continually in a prayerful attitude/relationship with the Father? When we receive good news is our first reaction to praise God, or exalt self? When we receive bad news is our response to first ask for God’s will and guidance, or run to the self-help section at the local bookstore? We have a Father in Heaven who desperately wants to hear from his children.
How Often Do We Recite Our Prayers?
Matthew 6:7- “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Many of you know exactly what I mean here. All too often what we call “prayers” in a public service (or at the dinner table) are nothing more than a slap in the face to the communication that God wants from us.
“Guide, guard, direct” “Next appointed time” “Help this offering to further your kingdom” “Go with us to our place of stay”
And many, many other sayings that have slipped in and just become the norm.. It almost seems wrong to dismiss a service without the “next appointed time” prayer, right? My concern is simply this, I’m afraid we have lost the meaning of prayer.
Prayer is to be our open communication with God. Not, just saying the right words in the right order so that we can receive God’s blessings. I’m reminded of Charles Hodge’s book Prayer The Voice Of Faith: His opening statement “ I do not believe in prayer. I believe in God, therefore I pray” too often we are more concerned about the words we use, than we are on focusing on our heavenly Father.
How Often Do We Doubt In Our Prayers?
James 1:6- But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
When we pray that God will heal someone who is sick, do we believe He can? When we pray that He show us His will, do we look for it, or just continue on ourselves? When we pray that God will open a door for us, do we believe He can?
Prayer has often times been referred to as a tool that God has provided. I do not disagree with that. I do think that it is more than just a tool. It is a deep, meaningful relationship, that our Father so desperately wants with us, His children.
I do not have all the answers. I do not even know half of the questions. But one thing I know, I am so thankful for the precious family that God has blessed me with, and for my daughter, for reminding me, that we need to pray more often, than just at bed time.