It’s between 3 and 4 nights a week I get a chance to read to Caleb and pray with him. Sometimes we read Scripture or another book or something . . . and then there’s those nights when we have the opportunity to get into these deep discussions. Those biblical discussions based on questions he poses – or opportunities I want to share some Truth I’m teaching or learning to him and try to break it down to 4-5 year old level. It’s not easy. But it’s amazing how God does it! And how Caleb responds continues to bring tears to my eyes.
A few nights ago we had a good time together because he had a great day and I wanted to reward him with TWO animals to sleep with instead of the typical one. As I left the room, he said, “Daddy.!?” I figured for sure he was just stalling, wanting to tell me some drawn out story so he didn’t have to go to bed. His comment was simply, “I love you, Daddy.” As I said, “I love you, too, buddy,” he just said good night in response. He clearly just wanted to communicate that. It was one of those place your hand on your chest and tilt your head to the ceiling moments once I left the room.
That was Monday night. Wednesday night I shared that story at youth group as means of communicating how we need to tell God we love Him and how much he values that! My main text was Moses pleading God to change his mind after the Israelites built the golden calf. Moses didn’t want the people to die so he pleaded to God (Exodus 32:11). The whole point of the story is prayer works. It changes things. God gives us that to participate in His work in the world. Sure, it’s His will, but prayer does not just allow us to chat but participate and in fact change (Psalm 8)!
So back to Caleb. Tonight we read Chapter one in Charlotte’s Web then started talking about prayer before we actually did. I asked him what prayer is (as I asked my students last night). He said it was to talk to God and that it makes Him happy. He said we thank Him for the food and ask Him to help. Because I had previously shared the Moses story last night, I asked him if he knew Moses. He thought it was the guy who built the big boat but upon reminder realized that was Noah. I told him it was the guy in the basket. That lead to Moses killing a guy then running away then God speaking to him in a fire then God calling him to lead the people . . . the parting of the read Sea, then eventually talking to God on a mountain and seeing the people build a golden calf (cross reference the VeggieTale “Bunny”). Yeah, I know, you’re thinking, “poor kid!” But he did get it . . . keep reading!
So when I share that Moses asked God to save the people and God did, Caleb was, needless to say, pretty impressed that prayer isn’t just a pie in the sky request, but something that actually works! So he asks, “Why isn’t Miss Sue better yet?” His Sunday School teacher, Miss Sue has been at home for months now sick & he is wondering why his prayers have gone “unnoticed.” After picking up my jaw from his mattress, I told him that God always answers, but “Yes, No or Wait.” You could actually sense and see the Holy Spirit working in this moment. The fruit came next. His prayer was something like . . .
“Dear Jesus, thank for this day and the food and please, please, please, please, please, PLEASE say YES to Miss Sue getting better. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Tears didn’t just well but flowed. Somberly I got down and said I am so proud of him and love him. As I climbed down the ladder of his bunk bed, he said, “But Miss Sue won’t know we prayed for her.” I told him we could call her. So we did. I don’t know what it did for her.
But I know what it did for me.
Pray for your kids.
Pray with your kids.
And pray as a kid.
Whatever you do, pray. It works.