Updated: Jun 4
I think the most powerful thing we can do as Christ-followers is pray.
Growing up I was always confused on what prayer meant and how you do it. I grew up listening to big tall guys stand before hundreds of people in a church, saying big words I didn’t understand but sounded really eloquent and meaningful. I would say my night time prayers as a little girl before bed, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Angels watch me through the night, and wake me with the morning light. Amen.”
As a little girl, I didn’t quite fully understand what I was saying. All I knew was that I had Heavenly Angels watching over me as I slept, keeping me safe, and protecting my dreams from evil. Yes I was young and still believed in the tooth fairy, but I believe this is where my faith began. Every night that I prayed this prayer, I didn’t have bad dreams, and on nights I woke up crying from a bad dream, I hadn’t prayed.
I fully believe God delighted in my childlike faith as I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and said these words to Him.
I was reading Matthew 18 this week and it felt like a breath of fresh air I’ve been needing. In Matthew 18 Jesus’ disciples ask Jesus a question. They ask Him “who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”, bold question. It then says that Jesus called over a child and said to the disciples “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Gee! That seemed harsh at first. These disciples had been Jesus’ right-hand people and dearest friends. Was He saying they were doomed to hell-fire? No not in the slightest. He was actually calling them to deeper humility and dependency. Because He loved them.
In the context of this day and age, children, although precious and loved, did not hold any status or position to make lasting decisions. They didn’t hold power to do much except to obey and follow their parents or a person of authority in their lives. It seems restrictive and bounding, but it’s actually quite beautiful.
As a child, you were young and vulnerable to the guidance of whatever authority you had in your life, whether it was a mother and father, one or the other, or any other parental figure, in some capacity you believed what they said and did what you were told, willing or not. Now I want you to be careful when you relate your earthly parental authority to the authority and love of God. Whether you had a healthy, hard, loving, toxic, or broken upbringing, don’t place what you know through your earthly experience on your interpretation of who God is. God is perfect in nature and unlimited in power, He can redeem whatever skewed version of childlike nature we have.
What I want you to see is the beauty in having a childlike faith. Jesus is not explaining this idea of “childlike faith” in a way of maturity but of humility and dependency. Like an infant needs to be tenderly cared for and nurtured, we as Christ-followers need to recognize the sovereignty of God, and our lack of control over our lives.
When I prayed that prayer as a little girl, I understood that while I was asleep, I needed help to keep my bad dreams and anxious thoughts away. I recognized that God had the power to send His angels of protection to watch over me as I slept and I knew I just had to trust that He would. And I did. I can’t explain to you the sense it makes, other than trusting God's word as blameless and true, but I think that’s the beauty of childlike faith. To fully trust and follow God with a “yes and Amen”, even when it doesn’t “make sense”. Because He cares about me and has what's best for me.
Recently, I’ve prayed some bold prayers. I’ve had to apologize to God a lot as well. There were a lot of questions I was trying to make my own answer for and a lot of demands I was making that I’m not quite sure, in my clearest mind, is what’s good for me right now. In the time I’ve sat, undistracted and open-minded, I’ve been able to rest and recognize the prayers He’s been answering.
Something I've been learning when it comes to prayer is to expect God to answer but not in the limitations of my imagination. You see when we place expectations on God in our prayers, we aren't acknowledging God as God. Making our hearts desires known and dreaming WITH Him is one thing, expecting God to answer in our own understanding is another. Our expectations can quickly take the place of Hope if we allow it. When we lean into who God is (boundless, limitless in creativity, and infinite in power) we can hold ourselves in a manner of joyful anticipation that God is equipping us for His best and for great purpose: to love Him and love His people. And as we live life on purpose, we get to see Him work wonders through our surrender and exceed all expectations.
I started praying 3 years ago that if God wanted me to go overseas to serve for His glory and Gospel, I would need a clear opportunity, healing in my heart, and peace with every step. Now, (I’ll have to go into detail another time so I can explain to you just how beautifully God has used so many of His people to make this dream come true) I’ll just tell you, man He’ll do it! I’ve sporadically prayed through the years that God would pave a way, and sure enough, He did. Several months ago I was given an opportunity to go to Zambia for the summer. I took it with many questions and uncertainties, but unexplainable peace.
Even more recently, I decided I wanted to fully fundraise for the time I spend in Zambia. I wanted to see God move. I wanted Him to show me that this was really where He needed me this summer because in all honesty, I was ready to have a summer of losing track of time and changing out of my pj’s at noon. But I wanted what I did to be done in obedience, humility and willingness to hold my desires loosely. So I prayed. I said this exactly–” Okay God, you’ve got this, make it happen or don’t. I love you so much and want to do this together, you just let me know. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do know I need help.”
Flash forward and I am fully funded beyond my goal of what I needed to get there. I tell you this story because it is just a tiny testament to the power in having faith and trusting that God is the blessed-controller of all things. Meaning, He will surpass our abilities and understanding with great grace and beauty. All it takes is some faith, trust, and maybe confetti for celebratory purposes;)
If you’re struggling to see God answer your prayers, I encourage you to pray anyway. Do it, even if you don’t feel like it, pray and say “God I trust you with ______ have your way with it, and help me trust you.” Set aside your expectations, and ask God to sustain you in the meantime. Ask God for childlike faith, I promise He will show up in ways you nor I could never even imagine. Wait in hopeful anticipation that God is revealing something soon. And while you wait, know that I’ll be praying for you and cheering for you on the sidelines!
Scripture for encouragement and Devotional Idea: Pick a scripture to go and read the chapter of to get a better idea as to why this was written. We always recommend Enduring Word for commentary!
"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
1 John 5:14
With love always,
A Letter To You
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DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435
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As always we would love to hear from you any thoughts, stories, or dreams! On your team and in YOUR corner! Love you friend!