Part 4 – Childlike Presumptuousness
Children are presumptuousness. They speak and ask as though no barriers or limits exist anywhere. We were all like that before life and experience beat that quality out of us. My brother and I grew up in a family with a stay-at-home Mom and a hard-working blue-collar Dad. There was never a great deal of money, but we had all the basics. We, like most kids, made huge demands and had great expectations when it came to Christmas and birthdays. Even to this day I cannot imagine how our parents managed to pull it off year after year. We asked “outlandishly” because in our own minds there were absolutely no limits.
Little prayers or big prayers? We need to learn to be presumptuous in prayer. Have you ever seen this bumper sticker? “God loves you, but don’t let it go to your head!” Most of us in the Christian family should not even consider that advice. In fact, we need to take the opposite stance. God loves you. You are his specially chosen and loved child, and that should go to your head. It should determine who you are, and how you are, and how you ask. It should infect every moment of your privileged relationship with God. It should impact every prayer you pray.
I go to the movies from time to time with a couple of friends. I love the ad that often comes on for the IMAX…. A movie is playing, and a great explosion rips across the screen. Then, the same scene plays on a laptop screen, with diminished visual impact and sound. Next, it plays again on a mobile phone… very small screen, very small sound. Then the slogan: Go BIG or Go Home. The IMAX screen explodes with a blinding flash, and shock-wave sound. Some movies are ONLY meant for the big screen. That needs to be a slogan for our prayer. Go Big or Go Home. We need to be outrageously presumptuous in our asking.
Scripture repeatedly tells us to Go Big. Ask “anything”; ask as “children” of the King; ask Abba (papa); ask whatever. Are we paupers or rich kids? When I was in seminary there was a young woman there who arrived with little or no cash for personal needs. Inevitably she would need some money, and pray: “Daddy, you own the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10). It’s time for you to slaughter one of them and send the cash to your little girl!” Without fail, provision came. We put so many limits that God never requires on our asking.
I read an incredible story in Steve Brown’s book on prayer . During a social gathering, Cardinal Cushing was visiting those in attendance, and saw a five-year old boy. He approached and asked, “What is your name?” The young boy replied, with no sense of ceremony, “My name is Billy. What’s your name?” The Cardinal returned simply, “My name is Richard!”
A month later the Cardinal was celebrating a High Mass at the largest cathedral in Boston. After the service, as all the dignitaries were in the recessional, suddenly Billy stood up on his pew, and called out, “Hi Richard, it’s me Billy!” Can you imagine the humiliation felt by the parents? The Cardinal stopped, waved to Billy to join him, and hand-in-hand they resumed the recessional. Absolute presumptuousness. That is how we are to be with our Father in prayer.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (Eph 3:20 Message)
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jer 32:17 NIVUS)
We are to ask with childlike presumptuousness. Go BIG or Go HOME! If Cardinal Cushing would stop and take notice of a five-year old, what do you think our Father will do when we ask BIG?