Having a kid has been the biggest help to my prayer life. And not because of the challenges or costs of raising a child. Every day my son reminds me of what I am supposed to be as a Christian. While he loves to play trucks, he cares more about just being with me. We will watch the same video one hundred times over because he wants to share it with me. Whatever he needs - even if he is capable to get it on his own - he asks me first. Why? Because it means daddy is with him. Every laugh, every smile, every “did you see that, daddy?” is the Lord tapping me on my shoulder. “You’ve grown old,” he says.
G.K. Chesterton once pointed to a child and said God must be like them. Every day he says to the sun, “do it again!” And every evening he says to the stars, “do it again!” Every spring he dresses every wildflower in their Sunday best. And every winter he shakes the clouds like a snow globe. We, on the other hand, “have sinned and grown old.” By nature or by nurture we have come to believe that being self-sufficient is virtuous, the sign of a mature follower of Christ. And every day the Lord is showing me that toddlers have the right idea. Do we think Jesus was kidding when he said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3)?
“Unless you change…” Jesus says. That demand is not the voice of an unreasonable father demanding you to be anything but what you are. No, he is quite clear: “become like little children." Richard Foster said about prayer: "To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.” In ways unlike any other spiritual discipline, prayer changes us. It does not make us more of what we already are. It makes us like children. Just as Jesus told us.
As a church we have an audacious vision: to bring beauty into brokenness. John Wesley said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” For God to make everything beautiful in its time (Ecc 3:11) we need to be people who pray. And to pray we have to become like children.
That’s what my son has taught me anyway.
Author: Jacob Sweeney
Jacob Sweeney serves on the Prayer Team at City Church. To learn more about this team or to get involved, email Elise Mueller at email@example.com.