Pray like a child...

A few weeks ago I had all three of my grandboys.  Corey is 3 – and Thursdays are hard days for him.  It is his second day of school for the week, and he is just tired.  If I call my daughter, Katie, on Thursday afternoon, and I hear Corey seemingly upset or crying – I, of course, ask what is wrong.  Inevitably Katie’s response… it's Thursday.

So it was Thursday, and I had them for the afternoon.  All was going well – it was a beautiful day outside, so we were playing football.  Corey bent down to pick up the ball off the ground… and started screaming – now it sure sounded like a “hurt” cry to me, so I went to him.  He had fallen just a little – not to warrant that response… I reminded myself – it was Thursday.  As he tightly held his hand in his other hand, he continued to cry.  I took a look at his hand and realized he had been stung by some kind of bee – I saw the red dot in the middle and the circle around it.  I comforted him and said, “oh Corey, I am so sorry your hand hurts.”  

Before I could say anything else, he said, "Mimi – can you pray for my hand" – well, of course I will.  He stomped his foot a bit and said… NOW Mimi.  So I prayed.  He still whimpered but we went on with our day.  After playing outside, we headed in for a snack.  The boys were headed to our counter where the stools are set for each boy.  As Corey was getting up on his stool, he misjudged his height and raised up – hitting his head on the counter.  It is Thursday, remember.  I went to comfort him and before I could hardly get my arms around him, he said, “Mimi, can you pray for my head?”  Of course I can… and I knew he meant NOW.  SO I thanked God for helping his hand to feel better and I asked that God would help his head not to hurt so bad.  And so our evening went on.

Does Corey trust God?  Did he pray like he trusted God?  Did he follow the model of the Lord's prayer?  Did he follow the correct acronyms?


Corey just simply prayed where he was... what he was concerned about... how he felt... no "fixing" everything in his life... just honest... childlike faith... childlike trust...

I love to pray with purpose.  I love to study prayer.  I love to discover new ways to pray from scripture.  I love to read books about prayer.  Paul E. Miller has written a great book called, "A Praying Life."  The book is such a practical approach to prayer.  I heard him interviewed recently on a Christian Radio station.  

The question to him:  What are the three most important things to teach people about prayer?

His answer:  Pray like a child, pray like a child, pray like a child.

He continued that Jesus realized His need for the constant connection to His Father...

So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.
 John 5:19-20

For just this week, will you join me in praying like a child...

Mark 10:13-16: People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 

Make a U-turn at...

Several months ago I took Clay and a friend to visit a college.  My instructions were clear - you guys sit in the front - one will drive and one will navigate... and I handed them an atlas.

It looks like this... inside there is a page for each state with roads and labels - there is no audio.  You can actually determine how to get from one city to another without speaking into it, and it doesn't talk back.  You must review your own decision to go north or south, east or west, then drive that way using only road signs and your determined plan.  

Both boys took one puzzled look at the unimpressive Atlas and spoke gently into their phones to their good friend, Siri, with a request for directions.  Siri, in a kind, gentle voice, began with an instruction to turn left to begin the trip.  We made it... without the Atlas.

Fast forward several weeks... Frank and I were headed to visit my parents in Cookeville, TN... a trip we have made hundreds of times even varying our route a bit.  Years ago, I "found" a little road on an Atlas that cut ten minutes off our trip.   We ran into some heavy traffic due to an accident this day, so we need to reroute.  Thinking our good friend, Siri, with the gentle voice might give us a quick easy detour, we began driving away from the intended route to find a state road that would take us around the accident site.  With every 300 feet we moved, our gentle Siri repeated the same words with the same inflection, "make a u-turn in 300 feet." She wasn't emotional; she didn't seemed bothered by our lack of response; she just continued to repeat "make a a u-turn in 300 feet".  No, friend, we can't make that u-turn, it will take us back "from whence we came", and that will cause us to repeat the same traffic stop - we need NOT to repeat - we need only a left turn... a new direction away from the problem to allow us to smoothly reach our destination.  We needed a different path... a change in direction....

Isn't our journey with the Lord like that?  We often find ourselves in a pattern of repeat... oh we try to head away from the problem... the temptation... the challenge... the SIN - the disobedience, but we "hear" the gentle whisper...of the enemy, make a u-turn, come on back, THIS is your path.  We may just sneak a few "feet" down that changed decision path, and then we hear... make a u-turn... this is just who you are... you aren't strong enough to stay this course.

Truth is... we really can't make that turn from sin (to the left) on our own.  Over and over the Bible tells us that we have the love of the Father, the example and fellowship with Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit - to turn away from that disobedience.  Let's be honest, there are the very big things that we need to turn away from, but there are so many daily things that we need to address.  Are my words, my thoughts, my actions pleasing to God - are my responses based on how Jesus would model for me to respond?  Takes WWJD to a new level of thinking, doesn't it?

 from The Laymen’s Library of Christian Doctrine: The Christian Experience of Salvation by William E. Hull:
“Repentance begins with the recognition that life is moving in the wrong direction – no matter how long we have been doing it, no matter how many others may be doing the same thing, no matter how contented we are with our situation. “  

Our first decision with Jesus and repentance comes with His simple command, and our decision/answer to that command:

Then He said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  Luke 9:23

Once we have chosen to follow HIM, our lives should look different - our goal should immediately become to look more like Jesus.  I read an article from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association about what it means to conform to the ways of Jesus.  The title was simply, Do we look like Jesus.

The article ended with the following thoughts/questions.  As I reviewed the list, I was reminded of many places of needed repentance.  I so want to look like HIM... actually I want other to see HIM instead of me... 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5: 22-23
  • Do you choose to love the unlovable, even when you don’t feel like it?
  • Do bad circumstances steal your joy?
  • Are you at peace in non-peaceful situations?
  • How good are you at working with another timetable besides your own?
  • Do you seek that which is good (as defined by God’s Word)?
  • Do you waiver in your faith when times are hard?
  • Are you gracious in your dealings with others?
  • Who or what controls you?
Father, forgive me...

Just do... something

So... what does chapter 6 of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, the New Testament book of Acts and a conversation between my daughter, Katie and her youngest son, Corey, have in common?

Well, friend, I am so glad you asked.  The first challenge came from teaching pastor, Kyle Idleman, to his listeners last weekend during his sermon to do something.  He had discussed for a couple of weeks the "law" of sowing and reaping.  You will sow apples if you plant apple trees. Of course.

I gently "plopped" on Frank's lap the other night, and being the kind, thoughtful husband he is, he did not grunt or sigh under the "weight of his beloved".  I whispered gently in his ear.... "I don't want to be fluffy, but I really like to eat."  He almost choked on his diet coke, and I was almost dumped to the floor with his laughter.  Now, "fluffy" is certainly defined in the eyes of the speaker of the word... but he understood my dilemma.  I will have to "sow" eating at least a little better and at least a little less, and maybe throw in some additional physical movement IF I intend to reap "less fluffy".
Do something...

Frank and I have spent almost a year walking through the book of Acts with a group of friends and are just coming to end of the last chapter - 28.  Verse 31 calls all believers to action:  "Boldly and without hindrance, he (Paul) preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."  

The entire book of Acts allows us to peek in on the happenings of the early church and the spread of the gospel just as Jesus said.... "you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  They spent their days seeing the needs of others and meeting the needs of others... no matter the need... Just
Doing something...

So Katie's conversation with Corey:
            Corey:  Mommy, watch this.
            Katie:  I don't want to.
            Corey:  Awwwww.

A little further explanation and defense of this sweet little momma!  This momma watches all day every day my three precious grand boys who beg to be watched every single moment.  I had observed her "watching" the same feat that Corey had now completed 8,549 times (My exaggeration... just a little).  He was pushing a button watching the same little compartment open every single time.  She had watched with glee for the first 8,000 times... and with a gentle momma's thoughtfulness the following 549 times, but this 8,550th - she just didn't want to.  Been there?  She did, of course, watch one more time..
Did something...

So to pull it all together... What decision might you make as you read this that will determine a "something" you can do for a "someone" this week....even if you don't really feel like it.

A friend copied a text message to show me a thought on just this subject... just for this week.. rather than saying and even meaning, 'Please call me if I can do anything for you,'  try this:

I know you have so much going on in your life right now, and I want to be the very best friend to you that I can.  Please answer this question:  Can I make you a casserole for dinner on Tuesday, or could I take you lunch on Wednesday, or can I call you late afternoon on Monday to just chat for 10 minutes..

Sometimes, friend, our desire to not overstep leaves us missing such sweet opportunities to serve others.  Let me know how it goes...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV