“Mommy, I have a sticker”: Lessons in prayer from children

“Mommy, I have a sticker!”

This was the phrase I heard from an adorable 2 year-old during our community group.  The little girl was so excited to show her mom something as simple as a sticker.  She pointed out all the colors, the picture, every detail.

Between babysitting, teaching, and working in church nursery/children’s ministry, I’ve worked with children for over 15 years.  One thing I’ve noticed is no matter the age, children are excited to share every discovery, every new thing they see and experience.  Younger children love to bring adults everything they find — flowers, pictures they colored, even rocks.  When presented with these items, we ooh and ahh and exclaim as though they are bringing us priceless jewels.  As children get a little older, they bring “information.”  They want to tell us every item they received at Christmas or for a birthday.  They relay every detail of a conversation, every game they played with friends, along with every hurt — from skinned knees to broken hearts.

Recently, I thought about the commonalities between how children relate to adults and how I relate to my Heavenly Father.  Using the title “Father” in reference to God is easy; talking to Him in the same relational way is not so easy.  When I pray, do I come to God in the same way a child runs to adult?  We are told to boldly approach the throne (Hebrews 4:16); but, do I bring everything to Him?  Just as parents want their children to come running and share the details of their day, God wants us to do the same.  He wants me to come to Him and just talk about the day; to ask for help in dealing with difficulties; to thank Him for knowledge and strength to do my job well.  He wants me to share my heart with Him — all of it.

So, why am I afraid to do that?  Why don’t I run to Him in all things?  Why don’t I share all the details of my day with Him?  If I am honest, I struggle to believe that God cares about details.  I can easily recite the verse that talks about God caring about one sparrow that falls and knowing the hairs on my head.  But, when the rubber meets the road, I don’t believe He really wants to hear about my day — good, bad, or mundane.

When I started trying to go to Him with everything, I immediately began to wonder where to start.  How does this work?  What do I say?  Then, I realized I needed to do what a child does — just start talking.  When I pray, I always worry about staying on track, or I think about how things sound.  When children talk, they do not worry about staying on track.  Just listen to them for 5 minutes and count how many different topics they can cover.  For children, if a thought enters their mind, it comes out of their mouth.  I can be that open, honest, and transparent with my Heavenly Father.  He wants me to be that way.  That’s what relationship looks like.  It is sharing life — down the small details.

 

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