I talk a lot and so do 4 year old boys honing their negotiation skills. Ezra, like most every other kid I know, has a lot to say about life and a gazillion questions to ask along the way.
We talk about all kinds of stuff, but lately it’s about the Transformers (most specifically Optimus Prime) or Spiderman, or Justin Bieber. And somewhere in the mix, Ezra always throws out God questions. As often as they occur, its amazing that I’m almost never ready for them…he tends to weave his theological curveballs into conversations about the Green Goblin or Bumblebee. “Can we pray that Jesus will make me shoot webs and climb walls?” “Is Optimus bigger than God?”
But the other day after praying for lunch, he shot a question out that I haven’t been able to shake: “Daddy, do you think that Jesus really hears you when you pray?”
It was an honest question…asked in the most innocent and straightforward way.
He wasn’t setting me up for something, he wasn’t being argumentative…he was asking what I thought, wanting to know what I believe. It’s a reminder that children are sponges…they’re listening and they’re looking for our cues. They are developing their views on the world, both the seen and the unseen.
That’s a big responsibility…it makes me think, how often do we pray more in the vein of positive thinking than in expectant petition? How often is it just a habit or a mantra we repeat at bedtime and before meals? Do we pray really believing that God hears what we say to Him? That the God of the universe listens to us like we are the only one speaking to Him?
I can only imagine what its like for my 4 year old to see me speak to an invisible God. But “childlike faith” is so beautiful. Ezra trusts me. If I tell him that Peter Parker is Spiderman or that Justin Bieber is just a normal kid, he believes me. If I tell him that Jesus is crazy about him and that people who love Jesus and live their lives in love with Jesus will someday spend forever with Him, he believes me.
That’s not something to take lightly.
So as I teach my son about prayer, I’m challenged to pray like I mean it. I want him to know that invisible is not imaginary, that praying is not wishing on a star, its not all about talking, but listening too. I want my son to know that God is real and He cares about what a 4 year old has to say to Him.