Childlike Qualities for Effective Prayer

Part 3 – Childlike Trust
Young children are most often at risk, because they trust. Parents and life in general, teach them to NOT trust everyone. What a moment when I got pulled over on the highway for traveling faster than the posted speed limit. My son, like a little parrot in the back seat, kept saying: “Dad, we don’t trust people we don’t know except for doctors and policemen, because they’re nice!” I’m not sure how “nice” the policeman was, but the incident underlines the natural “trust” that children have.

The family was visiting friends at their cottage on the lake. It seemed like all of the relatives had turned up on the same Saturday. There was a diving board at the end of the quay. The older teenagers were having an amazing time launching themselves into the lake with assorted flips and flops. I made the mistake of telling them that when I was their ages I could do all sorts of dives and flips. The challenge was launched, and I prepared to offer the best I could muster – a mighty run, and super-human leap, and the most miserable fail. I had barely recovered, sputtering and spitting, when I heard a scream from shore. My five-year old, a non-swimmer, with no floaties, no life vest, was bounding down the quay toward the diving board. Without any hesitation, he leaped. After all, Dad was in the water to catch him. Childlike trust! “Lord, teach me trust like that!”

Our ability to trust rests on our knowledge of the character, and competence of the one to be trusted. I am a “dentist-o-phobe”. For the last 39 years, I have had the same dentist. He is the only one I trust inside my mouth. I know him, and he knows me. Obviously, this trust has grown through the years.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Ps 62:8 NIV)

How do you feel about throwing yourself into the deep waters of life, trusting God to be there to catch you? How do you feel about trusting God, as Father. Far too many of us have come from dysfunctional families, but God is the ultimate Father, who asks us to trust where we cannot see, to obey where obedience is terrifying, to allow Him to be light in our darkness, and relief in our pain.

For the past few months I have been praying the Psalms. Most recently, I have become very attached to Psalm 13. It is so blatantly honest – questions, doubts, fears, but in the end a commitment to trust.

1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (Ps 13:1-6 NIVUS)

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