As a Christian and as a parent it is my duty to teach my boys how to pray to God. In that simple act I am teaching them that our God is approachable, and that He cares, and that He desires to hear from us.
Every night, I tuck my boys in and then we pray. I start off with asking, “What are we thankful for?” then we pray for our family. The night isn’t over until I wrap up our prayers with, “Sweet dreams and no bloody noses.”
It became a routine after Carsen was having bad dreams so, we would read about a certain curious monkey. One particular night the story was about George visiting a Candy Factory. Ever since that night, we prayed for sweet dreams, like George in the candy shop. Tucker would often get bloody noses near bed time so the second tag line was added for good measure.
Often we hear how people think God is some genie in a bottle waiting to grant our wishes. I thought I was doing a good job teaching my boys to be thankful for what God has given us. We prayed for the healing of friends and family, safe travels for those who were, and thankful for the house, right down to the dog.
I believe God still speaks to his people. When He does speak to me it’s been few words that pack a punch, like opening a Pandora’s box of truth that spills out and opens doors of revelation. Sometimes it’s a thought that I know did not originate in my head, and that’s what recently happened to me.
I was in the kitchen doing something and this thought breezed past me that I almost didn’t catch it. It was like walking past someone you vaguely think you know, but aren’t quite sure; once they are halfway down the street it hits you.
“You are not teaching them to ask of Me.”
I stopped in my tracks. Nothing I was doing or thinking would have led me to this notion.
I am teaching my boys to be thankful to God but there is so much more to prayer than that. I wasn’t teaching my boys to ask God; to come to Him with prayers of petitions. He is the Giver of every good gift and I was missing showing my boys the generosity of our Father.
Luke 9:11 – “…I tell you, ASK, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
John 15:6-7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ASK whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
God reminded me of a deep-seated root in my own prayer life. I have no problem with asking God to help others, but rarely would I seek His help for me. What if help didn’t come? Then I would be disappointed in God and I didn’t want that to ruin our relationship. I shouldn’t be disappointed with God. I wanted things to be good between us, so, I wouldn’t ask unless I was desperate.
This attitude stems from my parents’ divorce. I know this. I’ve said this. I wouldn’t ask my Dad for things because of the what ifs. I didn’t want to be disappointed or mad at my Dad.
God still isn’t a genie. He isn’t waiting for us to ask for a million dollars. In 2 Chronicles God says to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give to you.” Solomon could have asked for riches or any earthly desire, but you know what he asked for? Wisdom. Wisdom to rule his people.
Do you know how God responded? He gave him wisdom AND riches. He was the richest King ever! Ask, and ye shall receive.
I will leave with this story. Several years ago, when my boys were into Beyblades (a modern version of the spinning top), Tucker had lost one outside. We saw where it went but when we looked for it we could not find it for the life of us! For three days we looked in that same darn bush to no avail.
We prayed one night to find the toy. The next day, determined to find it, I urged Tucker to look once more in the bush and around it. It was a small bush to top it off. Triumphantly, Tucker squealed. “He found it! God found it!”, as he hoisted the toy in the air as if to show God, himself. That look of pure joy on his face, with eyes squinting in the Spring sunshine towards heaven, was truly a gift to me.
See, God cares about the little things too. Tucker knew, without a doubt, that God heard him. God answers prayers. And I will say, that joy God saw on Tucker’s face was the truest picture of His love for giving His children every good and perfect gift.