Little Miss Sunshine and I settled into her bed to say her bedtime prayers when she asked me, “Prayer is how we can tell God what we want, right?” I cocked my head, unsure quite how to answer her question. “Yes, but it’s also a time to thank God for things and tell Him we love Him.” Satisfied with my answer she folded her little hands in front of her face and closed her eyes tightly. What followed were probably some of the sweetest words ever uttered.
“Dear God, I want you…to help us do good things. And take away our sin so we don’t do those things any more. I love you soooo much. Amen.”
She opened her eyes and looked at me for approval. “Do you think God heard that?”
“Oh, I’m sure He did. That was beautiful sweetie.”
“Did Jesus hear it too?”
“Yes, I’m sure He did too.”
And then she said, “I need to tell him one more thing.” She closed her eyes and folded her hands again and said, “Dear God, please help my brother to be good and not naughty and not to hit me in the nose with a stick.” At that point, I was sure I had missed something that had happened earlier in the day.
As I thought about her question and the following bedtime prayers, I realized once again that I was seeing things through adult eyes. I had feared she would begin to view prayer as a time to just tell God what we want and expect Him to answer – like asking for a pink bike or a pony. But her prayers are so much closer to God’s heart of love than mine often are. I’m the one continually begging God for what I want, like to please, please, please, please sell our house in Florida so we can settle down into our own place and get into a routine and make things easier for everyone (mainly me). Please, please, please sooooon! But my 4-year old simply and unselfishly asks for help to be good and not to sin and lets Him know she loves Him sooooo much. It’s no wonder that Jesus rebuked the disciples and told them to let the children come to Him because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like these children. My daughter is concerned with one thing when it comes to God – she loves Him, and He loves her. I think that was what pleased Jesus so much about the children crowding to see Him: they were secure in His love for them and they loved him dearly in return and just wanted to be close to Him.
I think I should switch things up tonight and ask God if I could have faith like Little Miss Sunshine.