What my Toddler Taught me about Prayer

I love how the Lord uses my children to teach me things, to speak to my heart throughout the ordinary days of motherhood. He recently used my toddler to speak volumes about prayer  . . .

We view dinner as a special time for family in our house. My husband arrives home after a day away at work and we sit down together to enjoy a meal and talk. After the plates are served and we are gathered, we hold hands and pray to thank the Lord for the day and the meal. I love how Gidget quietly waits at the table and then reaches his hands to ours before we pray. It is the sweetest thing!

During a dinner recently I had to get up from the table to get something for Gator. Upon my return, Gidget smiled and reached his hand for mine again. I smiled and said, “No buddy, we already . . . “ and I stopped myself there. “We already prayed” was what I had intended to say, but as the words nearly slipped from my tongue, I realized that prayer shouldn’t be a one-time deal!

Why shouldn’t we express our gratefulness to God many times through the day? Why shouldn’t we thank Him for the food He provided, for safety through the day, for the air we breathe, for our very ability to breathe?

I realized that I had begun to view the “dinner prayer” as the obligatory once-and-done prayer and I had lost the heart of it.

Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude -- an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God. - Arthur Pink

Dependence. It is so easy to become self-sufficient and lose the attitude of dependence upon God. I had lost the attitude of dependence.

It is necessary to iterate and reiterate that prayer, as a mere habit, as a performance gone through by routine or in a professional way, is a dead and rotten thing. -E.M. Bounds

My mere habit had become a dead and rotten thing. It was useless. Without the attitude, the actions matter little.

As I pondered all of this, the following verse came to my mind:

 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing. Prayer is not once and done. It is the constant communication, the constant expression of dependence.

When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Mueller’s reply was, “Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming.” -Source Unknown

That is the attitude I want to develop. An attitude of dependence on my Savior so great that I pray without ceasing. That my dependence on Him becomes as natural as breathing. Not out of dead habit or routine, but out of an attitude of dependence, of gratitude, of worship.

I glanced at the bright blue eyes and mischievous smile as my moment of reflection passed. I smiled and I reached for his tender hand, “Yes, buddy, let's pray.

 

Post linked to What Joy is Mine here