If fairy tale movies have taught us anything, it’s that every princess needs a fairy godmother. When the damsel gets distressed, she simply cries out for help. A quick wave of the magic wand and poof! Problem solved. But have you noticed the princess hardly ever hangs out with her fairy godmother when life is good? There’s no friendship.
Sometimes, people treat God the same way. They believe in Him, but it’s only when things go wrong that they pray. The people of ancient Israel had lots of practice with this cycle. They would follow God for a while, then turn their backs on Him, get attacked by bad guys, call to Him in desperation, thank Him for the rescue — only to start all over again!
Take the situation that happened in Judges 3. The Israelites ditched the Lord for false gods, then realized their mistake when a foreign king ruled over them for eight years. So God sent Othniel to be the country’s judge and war hero, and he led them to victory. Four decades later, however, the cycle repeated itself, and this time, Ehud (and later Shamgar) saved the day.
Proverbs 18:10 says,
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
God loves to help His people when they’re in trouble. But He wants to hear more from us than just an S-O-S. Like a friend, he wants to chat about our opinion on the latest book, the family’s plans for spring break, and how sorry we are for talking back to someone yesterday. Jesus is more than a rescue service; He’s a best friend.
In all good relationships, there is talking and listening. Listen, lean in, get close. God is mighty, but He sometimes chooses to speak in a gentle whisper. He has complete wisdom, but He still asks questions. He’s in absolute control, but He wants us to participate in the relationship. Is God putting quiet questions on your heart and mind? Tell Him what’s on your heart and invite Him in. He’ll take you up on it.
Here’s the great truth: we get to spend time with God any day of the week, any hour of the day.
We can be with Him at home, in church, or out in His creation: taking a hike in the woods, spending time by the ocean, catching fish in the nearby lake. Being with God in His world is enough to keep us full of smiles until we get to spend forever with Him in heaven.
Notice how good it is to spend time with God and then tell Him so. Thank Him when you have one of those amazing moments of blue sky, green trees, and biting fish. Thank Him when the snow falls and you get to make a snow angel while catching the flakes on your tongue. That’s hanging out at God’s place. Let Him know how much you love it.
God likes it when we tell Him what we’re thinking and feeling. Our prayers might not be very cleaned up and polite, but they will be real. Are there situations in your life that make you sad, angry, or frustrated? Have you made some decisions you feel badly about?
Talk to God about everything.
You might be surprised by how you feel when you’re done. After all, God hears every word you say and cares about each one.
When you pray, God loves hearing your voice. He loves when you come to Him and trust His love, no matter what’s been going on in your life. And when we talk to Him, we offer up something precious. Our thoughts toward the Father are so valuable that He saves them up to fill golden bowls by His throne in heaven (see Revelation 5:8).
Excerpted with permission from Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible, copyrightZondervan.
* * *
Parents, this is a wonderful devotion to share with your kids today. Forging a prayer life that is one of close friendship is such an important practice to pass down to our children! How do you share with your kids about prayer? We would love to hear your thoughts!