Posted by Bonita Jewel
The prayer of my five-year-old one summer evening shocked me with a glimpse into a child’s mind and heart. More than that, it impressed me of the awesome responsibility of being a parent. The importance of listening to, understanding, and guiding my children’s thoughts and resultant conclusions in a way that will enable them to grow into adults with wisdom, love, and concern for those around them.
I read my children a devotional that touched on the concept that even though we want to do the right things, sometimes we will end up doing the wrong things. Sometimes while we read, my five-year-old is in an entirely different world mentally. But this time, he asked about it. His question seemed an attempt to say, “Let me get this straight … is this how it works?”
“Mommy, people want to do the right thing, but they can’t sometimes?”
“Sometimes,” I answered.
“But that’s why Jesus died for them. Because they can’t do all the right things … but He still loves us?”
“That’s right,” I said, wondering what about that concept made him suddenly tune into what we had been reading.
The day passed like most of the summer days had. Trying to inspire them to do their chores. Spending a few hours at the water park. Asking them to clean up their rooms and hearing all the reasons why that particular mess really isn’t theirs or really shouldn’t be cleaned up at the moment. Stepping in to help them resolve issues.
The evening rolled around. After snack time, getting-ready-for-bed issues and finding stuffed animals, we gathered into the living room to pray.
“Jesus,” my five-year-old son started before the rest of us had even closed our eyes, “you know, there are lots of people who don’t do the right things and some of them want to do the right things.”
I glanced over at him. His eyes were squeezed shut and his hands clasped together in front of him. But his conversational tone of voice sounded just like he was chatting with a friend. A good friend. A best Friend.
“Help them to know you, to know that you died for them to forgive them for their sins.” He said a few more sentences, which I can’t remember. It was one of those moments I wish I had a video camera or audio recorder handy. I would have loved to record those precious words that came from his heart.
But I know they’re recorded Somewhere. By Someone who hears the prayer of every one of his children, even (and possibly especially) the ones who don’t pray because they feel they have to or because it’s just the expected thing to do. By Someone who hears every prayer from a sincere heart.
Somewhere along the way, my son discovered a Friend who has entered his heart and touches his life in a way he can’t exactly understand or express. (After all, none of us can ever entirely understand or express God’s infinite love and care).
My heart was full of a whole lot I can’t quite put into words as I listened to him pray with a simple desire for others to know and understand that same Love. To meet that same Friend. To know the one who died to forgive their sins.
At the end of his prayer, all I could really say was, “Amen.”