During this week’s sermon, we learned things we can do while we are in the waiting. I am an extrovert, so being confined to home is hard for me. I find myself trying to think of any essential reason to leave the house, for anyone. Waiting is hard for me, especially in solitude. It makes me restless and anxious, and I am generally not an anxious person. This sometimes causes me to forget the basics, like setting aside time to talk to God, time to pray.
As a preschool director, my target audience is a little different than the audience of, say, the co-pastors. The little eyes that look back at me each week have so many lessons to teach me about faith — the real meaning of faith — believing in what we cannot see. They receive things with such eager wonder. They worship and dance uninhibited. They call out answers that are sometimes way off, with no fear of judgment. They pray precious prayers. My 9-year-old accepted Christ in November and was baptized in December. While more mature in his faith than the preschoolers, as I thought about how to pray in this season of waiting, I couldn’t help but think of his prayers. They are bold, vulnerable and completely without fear. He doesn’t hold back. He talks to God about what is on his mind with no worry at all. He prays big prayers.
So why is it, as adults, that we lose that vulnerability with our heavenly Father? At what point does our childlike faith go rogue and turn into adult-like faith? Why do we question more and talk to God less? And why do we care what anyone else thinks? Why is it so hard to pray at times like this?
“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
— Jeremiah 29: 10–14
In thinking about this for myself, I looked into faith through a child’s eyes in hope to rekindle some of that in my own prayers during this season of life. I want to see life through their eyes, to find beauty in the ashes, and to lean into God like a child.
The first thing I learned is that children ask honest questions when talking to God. They just want the truth, unclouded with opinions of the media or other influences in the world. Their motives are simply asking God to teach them something. Ask God today to teach you something, and be open to hearing his response.
Second, I learned that children ask God for what they need openly. They ask, expecting an answer, with no doubt or reservation. They ask, ready to receive what God has for them. Today, as you pray, talk to God openly. Tell him your fears, your desires, your worries, and do not be afraid that he cannot handle it. He can, and he will.
Third, children pray from a place of complete trust, much like the trust they have in their parents. If you think about it, their entire lives are based in trust — their next cup of milk, next meal, their clothes — all because they trust someone to care for them. As you talk to God today, trust that he cares for you in the same way. He knows the number of hairs on your head, and he knit you together. He loves and cares for you. Remember that as you pray.
And finally, children pray from a place of happiness and satisfaction. They delight in God’s presence and they love and trust him, even in trying situations like these. They look for the good. When you talk to God today, take time to be still. Listen without talking. Be satisfied in his presence. Receive good blessings from your time with him.
Times like this give us the opportunity to lean into God like never before. We can revel in his love and rest in his promises. We can enjoy childlike conversations with him as we grow back into our childlike faith. Take time today to explore your faith through the eyes of a child.