• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Childlikeness

Thanks to Laura for this week’s post on A Praying Life:

I’ve been picking up on a theme in the first few chapters of Paul Miller’s, A Praying Life.  I find this theme thoroughly disturbing and don’t like it.  It is this notion of “being childlike” in my relationship with God. It’s not that Miller makes me feel like a heel for not being better at prayer (unlike pretty much every other book on prayer I’ve read)—I think it is that he hits the nail right on my juvenile head about what my problem really is.

This theme starts in chapter three and runs, well, pretty much through the rest of the book (in some form or other):

 “Jesus wants us to be without pretense when we come to him in prayer.”

“…little children never get frozen by their selfishness…they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed.”

“What do they ask for? Everything and anything … Repeatedly … Without guile. They just say what is on their minds. They have no awareness of what is appropriate or inappropriate.”

“Little children can’t imagine that their parents won’t eventually say yes.”

 

Come just as I am, “totally self-absorbed” and not “aware of what is appropriate or inappropriate”? What is THAT?!  Have you ever said something that was completely inappropriate and realized it just as the words come out of your mouth?  It awful, it’s embarrassing, humiliating.  I am supposed to shoot for that?  Hmmm.  Mr. Miller is implying some serious let-your-guard-down stuff.  When it gets right down to it I suppose he is implying that sometimes my “correct” prayers are just full of it. 

This bothers me not so much because it implies a “let’s be real with God” attitude (I can dig that), but because it demands a level of dependence I barely fathom. In chapter 5, we read that Jesus’ childlike dependence is revealed in “I can do nothing on my own”.   Dependence is a term I know I am supposed to live out.  But I start cringing when I think about the neediness Christ is living out here. This is clearly a problem because I run from being needy in front of people like I run from the plague.  Embarrassing myself (by being inappropriate for example) or being visibly selfish might reveal to others around me that I am needy.  Am I so much more honestly needy before the Lord then?

How ‘bout you?

3 Responses

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for advising World Teamers to read this book. It is changing my prayer life, praise the Lord! ~Amy Samson

  2. The Bible gives us good precident for child like, in your face prayers. Habakkuk’s prayers were tactless and a bit edgy. The Lord didn’t rebuke him for it and engaged him fully. He seems to prefer transparency over correctness.

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