Children never fail to amuse, surprise and delight me. They see things so simply, think things so logically, take what we say at face value, ask the questions that come straight into their heads without worrying what someone will think of them.
Last week I was unwell with an infection in my leg. Recuperating, with antibiotics and rest, I was thrilled when my two youngest grandchildren came to see me. They played for a while then my baby granddaughter who is only two and a half stopped what she was doing and said haltingly “We must pr..we must pray for Granny’s leg”. Commenting that this was a very good thing to do my grandson, who’s eight, piped up and said “Yes I’ve been teaching her to pray. This is what you have to say Phoebe… Make Granny’s leg better soon, please God, Amen!”
In her little toddler voice Phoebe asked exactly that with her hands stretched out hovering over my leg. The moment took my breath away and brought a tear to my eye. How sweet and where did she learn what to do? They carried on playing but heaven and earth had met that moment in my living room.
Happily by the weekend I was well enough to go to church as usual. Our pastor asked me to introduce the morning and open with a prayer. As I opened my Bible for a suitable verse my baby granddaughter came up and asked to look in my book. What was it about she asked and what did that word say? I explained this was a book about God and Jesus and she asked if God lived in a house. Reassuring her that He did (for Jesus said” In My Father’s house there are many mansions…”) she then wanted to know did He have lunch with His friends. (Food and parties are very important in Phoebe’s world!) I said probably, feeling us getting into deeper waters here, then she wanted to know did God like spaghetti? I said I though He might.
Then came the knockout question. She asked “What does God say to you?” Ah the logic and wisdom of a two year old. It was almost as if God Himself was asking the question. You don’t give silly answers to inquiring two year olds, so thinking quickly I replied that God told me that He loved me, that I was precious and special to Him. This seemed to satisfy her curiosity and I hoped it would be something she would remember. ( She doesn’t forget much , our Phoebe!)
For the second time in a couple of days she had astounded me and I am sure brought a smile to the Face of the Almighty. Jesus clearly had so much to show us through His interactions with children.
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” …
So we don’t need to over-complicate faith, or make out that God isn’t interested in our little ones, or pretend to have it all reasoned out in our own understanding. God is wiser than the wisest man and yet uses the simple perspective of children to show us how we need to respond to Him. We’re never too young or too old to learn to pray, no request is too simple, sometimes no language is required, the thoughts of our hearts are heard.
My one prayer is that all my grandchildren will remember how to pray when they grow up and face the things that life might throw at them. For me it is a joy and a privilege to see the world through their eyes.