Childlike Prayers

Over the past several weeks, Mateo and I have been praying together nightly. It started out as a routine on the nights when it was my turn to read with him. Then, one night after Dennis left his room, Teo called for me asking, “Can we pray?” Our sporadic prayer practice had finally become a deeper need and routine.

I always start out the prayer by thanking God for blessings that come to mind and for Jesus our Savior. Then, I’ll add some prayers of petition before Teo contributes what’s on his heart and mind. He sometimes echoes prayers that I said, but more and more his prayers are uniquely his own. A couple weeks ago he said, “I pray for all the people who are sick or injured or need to know you, God. Also, for all the things you know about God, that we don’t know.” Wow. I was stunned by the depth of that simple prayer.

Learning to live in the moment and be fully present has been a huge focus in my life for nearly eight years! I’m just starting to realize how much prayer helps in this pursuit. In Here and Now, Henri Nouwen writes, “Prayer is the discipline of the moment. When we pray, we enter into the presence of God whose name is God-with-us. To pray is to listen attentively to the One who addresses us here and now.” So true! Prayer has the power to still our hearts and minds to wait on God for a response in His time.

Living in the moment is all well and good, but ultimately it’s directed at the goal of trusting in God. I can relinquish my drive for control because I know that almighty God is in charge and he loves me. The next sentence after the one quoted above is: “When we dare to trust that we are never alone but that God is always with us, always cares for us, and always speaks to us, then we can gradually detach ourselves from the voices that make us guilty or anxious and thus allow ourselves to dwell in the present moment,” (pg. 22). Wow, amazing.

On Thursday night, as I was still processing the mammogram results, Teo and I started to pray. I prayed for many things and ended with one for myself: “God, please let the biopsy results be benign. Please help me to be strong through the procedure and the days of waiting afterwards.” I paused and then encouraged Teo to contribute his petitions.

He spoke his usual universal prayers for all people and all that God knows about, including those dealing with illness. Then he said, “… and most of all…”

Oh, I thought with a sigh, he’s going to pray for his mom now.

“Most of all, please let the Dolphins beat the Chiefs this Sunday,” he finished with feeling.

I burst out laughing and tears sprang into my eyes. Teo look startled and I teased, “Yes, MOST of all, the Dolphins game is very important!” He started laughing too.

Children are the best! I love witnessing their ability to be present and ultimately trust that God and their parents are taking care of everything. Nouwen writes: “Joy and laughter are the gifts of living in the presence of God and trusting that tomorrow is not worth worrying about,” (pg. 37).

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