A Lesson in Prayer from a Three-year-old
The other night, my three-year-old daughter sat down to eat, and she led the prayer. It started out as a simple word of gratitude for what she was about to eat, but the way she ended the prayer struck me.
Before she wrapped up, she earnestly asked, “How are You doing, God? I love you.”
Her mom and I looked at each other with a smile, but we didn’t say anything. It was touching to hear a child ask about God’s well-being; and as I thought about it, it occurred to me that there’s actually a lot of depth to her doing that.
So much of our relationship with God is self-centered. We pray at God, hoping to get the things for which we ask; we read our Bibles, looking for a personal revelation; we serve others in the name of Christ, but so much of it is just a one-man mission to make ourselves feel like we’re living for something bigger than ourselves. Yet there’s so little of the curiosity, so little of the “How are You doing, God?” that my daughter showed before she ate her breakfast the other day.
The obvious reason we don’t usually show that kind of curiosity is that we don’t know what to do with the silence that comes from a God who doesn’t respond audibly. Yet He’s told us what we can do after we come to Him in prayer: wait.
The Psalmist says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5).
Isaiah promises, “[T]hey who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
And we can pray, along with the scripture, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).
If we believe God is real, if we believe His Word is true, then we can, with confidence, ask Him how He is doing today, and then we can wait as He reveals Himself to us in the holy recesses of our hearts.
“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).