1Corinthians 13:11,”When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
I can remember very clearly what my prayer life was like when I first became a Christian. My prayers in the beginning were all about one subject, and one person alone, and God was neither that subject nor that person. Who was this person that I prayed for, well myself of course. The Apostle Paul mentioned that when he was a child he did childish things, he talked, thought, and reasoned like a child. Well I prayed like a child. When one thinks of growth in the natural sense it makes sense. When babies cry at 2 am who are they concerned about? They certainly are not concerned about mommy or daddy who has to wake up and care for the child. No, the cry is all about the child.
When I used to pray, all my prayer requests were centered on me. So what did God do, He answered them. The very first time I prayed I can remember saying out loud, even though I was alone, “Let me try this prayer thing.” I had looked in the shed for a half an hour for my bike chain and couldn’t find it. So I got on my knees, no one was around, and I prayed, “God I believe you see all things, and you see where my bike chain is, please direct my eyes to it.” As soon as I opened my eyes, it was hanging on the wall right in front of my eyes. “It worked, God answered my prayer, I said. I said “thank you God,” and left. Oh, that was just a coincidence, you may be thinking. Well things like that began to happen often to me, mostly when I lost something. Even though I was new born babe in Christ (1Peter 2:2), God honored my prayers so I would learn to trust Him in prayer. Ones prayer life has to have a beginning, and often it’s a baby beginning.
As the Lord was slowly building me up in prayer, He was also building me up in faith, trusting Him. Matthew 18:2-4 reads, “2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” God loves the faith that we have as newborn children of God first trusting in His ability to answer prayers. God starts us here, because He is helping us to gain confidence in Him. John wrote “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name (1John 2:12).” God desires at some point that we begin to look outward in our prayer and focus on others, we ought to at some point begin to grow up in our prayer life, just like in the natural we grow from children to adults.
The writer of Hebrews writes in this context seemingly in frustration “by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5) There is a time to grow up, and become mature in prayer. Paul said there was a time when he became a man and put childish things behind him. I no longer pray like a child, and I have prayed and see God do miraculous things, life changing things, in myself and others, but my relationship with Him had to deepen which in turn caused my prayer to deepen. I too had to put childish things behind me, not just focused on myself, but on others, and more than anything on my relationship with Him, just talking to and hearing from my heavenly Father.
Application: Read about prayer in God’s Word, and may you too grow in your prayer life. Blessings Pastor Phil