at night, just before my littles lay their heads down to slumber, we pile into my bed. a big fluffy white comforter and soft sheets cover us as my littlest tucks herself close to my side and my oldest asks for her back rubbed. the iPad flips on and we listen to worship music. most nights they get drowsy listening. some nights they have questions. and nights like tonight we take turns praying for each other. which for them right now, isn’t wild and deep. except that i noticed one thing about their prayers: capacity. freedom.
children have such room for more of God. they don’t limit Him and His wonder.
tonight my littlest prayed about loving how she loves her doggy’s kisses, how she loves coloring with me and playing with her sister. all the while, sweet giggles slip from her full pink lips. [i could just gobble up those lips]. and the oldest prays for us telling us how much she loves us both, she thanks God for herself and then spends minutes thanking God for a special cousin of hers that she’s just deeply in love with. God thank you thank you thank you thank youuuuuu for my best friend. and God, thank you for everything. i, uh, mean, God the WHOLE universe!
i must have smiled too big at her prayer because she asked me why and what did i pray when i was little. i sighed. because i said the same prayer for as long as i can remember. and it went like this:
now i lay me down to sleep; i pray the lord my soul to keep. when in the morning, wide awake, show me the path of love to take. God bless mommy, daddy, bryan, ashley, ollie, cary, zap, the crabs, the fish, the bird, doc, shelly, the good people, bad people, white people, black people, purple people, red people, orange people, yellow people…alll the people in the whole world.and please forgive me of my sins. Amen.
verbatim, that is a peek into my childhood. because that’s exactly what i prayed. as i got older i would add to that prayer things that were happening and current. but that’s always how i began my conversation with God as i laid my head down to rest at night. my oldest and i both recognized a few similarities in my prayer and hers and her sister’s. we both prayed for ourselves. we prayed for our pets (that’s all those names that listed after my own. and yes. we had a small zoo). and we prayed for the whole world. i just missed the universe part, i guess.
i’m so thankful to hear the hearts of little ones as they pray. sometimes what we think is just a simple word, or even silly, is actually us just forgetting what freedom before the Lord sounds like. because their little hearts are just so wild and free.
imagine praying for the whole universe and expecting there to be change in it simply because you believe in a God who is so big that He can just do stuff when you ask Him to. imagine praying that you’ll see your favorite cousin real soon, and believing that you will (even if a trip isn’t planned to visit), just because you trust that He is interested in hearing your desires. and even when you’re disappointed that you didn’t see your cousin, you feel the freedom to say “why not God? why didn’t you let me see her?” and you’re not embarrassed or ashamed to ask your Father why? imagine the freedom to pray for all of the animals and all of nature in all of the world. imagine praying for the cat you saw in the parking lot a few hours earlier. imagine that every thought that is important, in your mind, is spoken before the Lord. imagine that you just think it, and then tell the Lord about it. imagine that you talk to Him like He’s your most trusted friend.
because when i was little, i believed the Lord could do anything – that when i prayed for all the people in the world, i could lay my head down that night knowing that a big God was going to do BIG things, even with the purple people in the world, just because little ‘ole me had asked Him to take care of them.
my little girls just went to bed, tonight, asking God to bless their doggy. pet therapy is real (and that will be another post, soon. because everyone needs to wise up on different types of therapies.) and they love that dog and call her their sister. so after they prayed for her they didn’t turn to me and say, “momma, will God love maddie because we asked Him to?” no they didn’t. they didn’t have to.
their faith is simple and they trust. and they aren’t afraid to disappoint God and to act out of line and get disciplined by me. they are free. they’re free to figure out life without being told how to think. they’re given safe parameters and freedom to live. and when they worship, it’s in their own little girl ways.
so when you pray tonight, just pray. just talk, or sing, or write, or draw, or dance…but just be you before the Lord and remember when you first encountered the Lord and how easy it was.
it still is.
rest in that.
His yoke is still easy. His burden still light. enjoy that with Him.