A little girl was kneeling by her bedside and began to pray. Yet all she did was recite the alphabet over and over again. Her mother walked in the room and after hearing the child repeat her ABC’s again and again, interrupted and asked what she was doing. “Well I’m praying,” said the little girl. The mother said, “But it sounds like you are just repeating the alphabet over and over.” The girl explained, “I don’t know any real prayers, Mama, I just give God the whole alphabet and trust that He can put it all together in a way that He sees fit.”
There are many people in the world today who never learn to commune with God intimately because they feel they aren’t spiritual enough or eloquent enough to pray meaningful prayers. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is not impressed by eloquence of speech, lofty rhetoric, or intellectual phrases. He doesn’t hear us more if we use certain theological buzzwords, but rather He listens to us based on the posture of our heart. The Psalmist said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
We must remember that we are children in our Father’s eyes, regardless of our age, our theological pedigree, or our spiritual depth. God sees us as His children. On more than one occasion, Jesus tells his disciples to become like little children (Mark 10:14-15, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:3). Apparently, little children, even in the adult form, are important to Jesus.
God isn’t interested in long, drawn out, pretentious prayers. And He certainly doesn’t want us to try to be something we are not. Adults are always thinking about ways to fix things. In contrast, children just come as they are regardless of how messy and unpolished that might look like. Jesus didn’t say, “Come to me, all you who have learned how to fix things, whose minds are logical and whose words are articulate, and I will give you rest.” No, Jesus opens up his loving arms to the needy and says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
In prayer, you don’t need to worry about getting the words right, just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. That’s what little children do. They come as they are, runny noses and all. Much like those first disciples who were rough around the edges, they just say what’s on their minds.
The only way to come to God is by taking off our spiritual masks. The real you must encounter the real God. Be honest about your struggles, your worries, your fears, your insecurities, your vulnerabilities, your pain, and even your anger. He already knows, and He can take it—God’s got a big chest! He simply longs to hear your heart touch His. He is a loving and merciful God; a good, good Father (Matthew 7:11), Who desires to be in communion with you daily (Isaiah 26:9).
Jesus said, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
I hope you are encouraged by today’s Word, and that, like a little child, you will learn to abide in Him daily.
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