Prayer is something that we as Christians should be doing continuously. An active prayer life and an ongoing relationship with God is something we strive for. But what happens in the mind of a child when God never seems to answer his prayers?
Last night, as usual Jordan came into my room to give me a hug and to say goodnight before he went to bed. Since normal bedtime is 9:00PM and he was choosing to say his goodnights and 7:30, I asked him why he was going to bed so early. He told me that he wasn’t feeling very well.
We as parents are not our children’s cure givers where their aches and pains in life are concerned. We are their caregivers. We can provide the pipeline through prayer for God to heal, provide for etc. (whatever the need may be), but only God can provide the cure.
Investigating further, Jordan told me that both his head and stomach were hurting. I immediately prayed with him concerning what ailed him as we usually do. This time when we prayed I sensed something in his attitude of prayer that I had never sensed before. I sensed a little apathy in his attitude concerning prayer.
There was a little “sure, we can pray but nothing ever happens anyway” tone in his voice this time. As Jordan went off to bed I was left with plenty of thoughts to ponder.
Approaching Prayer through Adult Eyes
As adults, we are taught and understand the principles of fighting the good fight of faith. We know and understand that more often than not, seeing results to our prayers doesn’t happen instantly. But what do you tell a child when you pray with him time and again and whatever is prayed about runs its normal course without anything tangible happening that you can say, “See, look…God heard our prayer and He answered us?”
Jordan is a rough and tumble kid. Hardly a day goes by without him scraping, spraining, or twisting something on his body that wasn’t meant to be scraped, sprained or twisted. In my attempt to teach him to turn to God for everything, including the smallest of issues in his life, I think I may be inadvertently blurring the line between those of us who turn to God first when we suffer injury, (whether that injury is a physical one or otherwise), and those who don’t pray and allow life to run its course. I went to bed last night no closer to having an answer to this question than when Jordan and I prayer together.
The Breakthrough Moment
This morning as I write this post, like someone speaking to me through a bullhorn, my answer was delivered! Actually, it’s something that I’ve written about and spoken about in the past to others. I’ve just never applied the principle when it comes to the faith of a child.
The answer is the principle that governs Stephen’s Ministry. I am not Jordan’s curegiver where his aches and pains in life are concerned. I am his caregiver. I can provide the pipeline through prayer for God to heal, provide for etc. (whatever the need may be), but only God can provide the cure.
When we begin to think about when and if the answer to prayer will show up, we begin to tread beyond our scope of responsibility and into an area that only God can be responsible for.
It’s my responsibility to pray with and to pray for Jordan. It is my responsibility to show him that God must be our first option when dealing with the issues of life. If and when he sees the results of the prayers we pray is totally and completely up to God. If I were to stop praying with Jordan because I don’t want him to develop a “prayer never works attitude”, I would be abdicating my responsibility as a parent.
Relationship Based Prayer not Results Based Prayer
Prayer is the primary way we communicate with God. Prayer is not just something we use to get an answer from God when we are going through something. I thank God that he has entrusted me with the opportunity to mold and shape a young life and to point our kids to Jesus.
But most importantly, I thank God for His wisdom and His guidance. I’m wiser now than I was when I began this blog post. We truly serve an awesome God!
(There is a Part II of this post. Click HERE to continue)