There he sat, upright in his sisters' bedroom, with his eyes set on his toy a few feet away. It was one of those toys that has a little bell inside so when grabbed it jingles, making his eyes light up and the first efforts of words come out of his mouth in joyful glee. At nine months, he was learning that his hands and his legs could work together to get him places.
I was positioned close to the toy, down on my hands and knees, smiling and reaching for him to move.
"C,mon, Ridley! You can do it!" I encouraged him.
He smiles back and believing me, drops his hands to the floor. He sits, half up and half in scoot position, testing the waters.
Then he tries to move. He gets his right leg behind him on the ground but he can't figure out how to move the left one around back too. He sits, stuck for a moment but still making an effort to do this by himself.
After another minute of trying, he sits back up. Even though he can't speak, his emotions are saying that he's flustered. He wants his toy but he just can't figure out a way to get it.
Then he begins to think.
This is the monologue I imagine going on inside his head:
"I want my toy. It's bright and shiny. And it makes noise! Why is my toy all the way over there? How come I can't get to it? I want my toy. Hmmm....how can I get it?"
He looks up and with a smile begins to grunt. He sees me and my proximity to his toy. I'm still on my hands and knees and once more, I urge him to come.
With a determined look on his face, he gets in the ready to crawl position. Then, one hand moves in front of the next. His chubby legs scoot his bottom across the hardwood floor. Now the other hand swings around front and he pushes his backside one more time. This is the most he's ever crawled. But he's still not made it to the toy.
I could tell that was as far as he would get that day. Instead of making him try to do more than he could, I meet him halfway. I bring the toy closer just within reach of his squatty hands and with a big smile he reaches down and grabs it. Delighted, he pulls it in close and it jingles as he shakes it close to his mouth.
Happy for him, I wrap him in my arms, give him a big kiss on his round little cheeks, and tell him how much I love him.
Just as an infant develops into a toddler, spiritual maturity is developed through prayer.
God teaches his children through prayer how to depend on him with our wants and needs. He knows what we want and if our desires come from a pure heart, he is going to help us. He will encourage us to make an effort on our part but through the process we realize our need for his help.
This week, we've been focusing on praying hard. I know some of us are praying for healing, others praying for finances, relationships, and dreams yet to be accomplished. I don't want to ever mislead you into thinking that you will always get exactly what you want if you pray. But, as Lynn mentioned yesterday, Scripture continually tells us to trust in the Lord.
Sometimes, like in Ridley's instance, I get exactly what I've asked God for. But the funny thing is, my prayers are answered in the most surprising of ways. They aren't answered in the way I've asked God to give them to me. God answers prayers on his terms, not mine. But when he does choose to answer those prayers, he wraps me up in his love and kisses my cheek. Just like the toy in Ridley's hands, he rewards me for being faithful.
But (there's always a but, isn't there?) I still have prayers that have not been answered. As I'm developing in my prayer life, I'm learning that I have to keep praying hard for those prayers. Just because I don't see immediate results, doesn't mean that God will never provide the answer. He is continually teaching me to be patient and to not rely on my own performance. When I cry out to God to give me what I want, he stills my anxiety with his calming presence. It's like he's telling me, "Christen, I hear you. Be patient."
My prayer for all of us this week is to believe that nothing is impossible with God but even if we don't get what we want (when we want it), that this will still be our mantra. May we hold on to hope and wait for his light to reveal the next step in our path. Let us not give up. And may we get down on our hands and knees to pray for all that our heart longs to receive.
Enjoy your weekend friends. We'll be back here next week to finish up our final days of the prayer challenge. I've also got an announcement for what's coming up in February on the blog! If you are a new reader, you will soon learn that I LOVE the month of February! :)
If you'd like to learn more about our New Year's Prayer Challenge, you can read this post about joining us for the next 21 Days.
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Want to go deeper?
- Complete the weekly prayer challenge sent to you by e-mail
- Read Chapters 8-11 this week in The Circle Maker
- Follow along with the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan.
- Listen to today's song from our playlist as you circle your prayers