“And Jesus, let my Mommy and my Daddy take us to the carnival. Amen.”
My then five-year-old son smiled a toothless grin at me and snuggled beneath his covers, obviously proud of his petition to his Heavenly Father. I smiled back and kissed him on his chubby cheek. He had been asking to go to the local carnival all week. After my husband and I replied several times with “We’ll see,” or “Maybe tomorrow,” this kid called upon the name of the Lord. What faith. Make no mistake; he believed with all his little heart that a carnival trip was in his near future. His prayer was so that I would believe it too.
I love hearing my kids pray. Their prayers are so pure, so poignant, and so purposeful. Kids don’t waste a lot of time with a lot of words. They get in there and get out, so to speak. I’ve learned much about prayer from observing my children’s faith. We often speak of this “child-like faith” (of which the term isn’t in the Bible) as faith without questioning. However, if you have ever raised a child, you know children are full of questions. Their questions help them make sense of the world and help them believe in what they hope for.
My son wasn’t asking, “What time are we going to the carnival?” and “Can you also buy me some cotton candy?” because he challenged my word. Quite the opposite. His questions underscored his faith in my word. Yet, even in his questioning, he never wavered from his belief that we were going to that carnival. The answer may have been delayed, but he still believed.
Unbeknownst to him, my husband and I were actually planning on taking the family to Busch Gardens that week. What my son saw in part (one Ferris wheel, a small roller coaster, and some stale cotton candy) would be magnified beyond his imagination when we got to Busch Gardens. As a parent, I reveled in the sheer joy I knew the day would bring to my children, and I kept it a surprise to magnify their anticipation.
How often are we praying for a carnival when God wants to give us Busch Gardens? We grow impatient because God hasn’t answered yet, when all the while, He’s smiling in anticipation of the glee on our faces when He answers the true desires of our hearts.
I Corinthians 2:9 reminds us, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” It hasn’t even entered into your mind the great things God wants to bring you into. But you must trust His timing and His way.
Days later, my husband and I were tickled as we heard the shrieks of delight coming from the backseat of our SUV as the kids realized we were nearing Busch Gardens.
“Thank you, Mommy! Thank you, Daddy!” They squealed.
It is our delight as parents to give our children good gifts. How much more will our Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11)?
I want to encourage you to pray like a child. Full of wonder. Full of imagination. Full of hope. And full of faith. Your Heavenly Father knows what you need. Trust in His goodness for you.
– Dana Williams