I'm privileged to have a lot of friends who have children, as well as to be an auntie to 8 wonderful kids! In fact, I've almost been an auntie for 14 years! That's a long time eh? Anyways, one thing I love to do is send my friends out for date nights so I can spend time with their kids. I love the time I get to play with and pray for their kids. I especially love when my friends have The Jesus Storybook Bible because I feel like I'm learning things myself as I read through it. If I could I'd share the entire Bible here with you but today I wanted to share a story that I was just reading to one of my very favourite kids in the whole world the other night.
How to pray
Jesus teaches people about prayer; paraphrase of The Lord's Prayer, from Matthew 6.
IN THOSE DAYS there were some Extra-Super-Holy People (at least that's what they thought), and they were called "Pharisees." Every day, they would stand out there in the middle of the street and pray out loud in big Extra-Super-Holy Voices. They really weren't praying so much as just showing off. They used lots of special words that were so clever, no one understood what they meant.
People walking by would stop and start, which might sound rude -- except that's exactly what the Extra-Super-Holy People wanted. They wanted everyone to say, "Look at them. They're so holy. God must love those people best."
Now, you and I both know they were wrong -- God doesn't just love holy people. But the people walking by weren't so sure. Perhaps you did have to be really clever, or good, or important for God to love you. Perhaps you had to know lots of difficult, clever words to speak to God.
So one day, Jesus taught people how to pray. He said, "When you pray, don't pray like those Extra-Super-Holy People. They think if they say lots of words, God will hear them. But it's not because you're so clever, or good, or so important, that God will listen to you. God listens to you because he loves you.
"Did you know that God is always listening to you? Did you know that God can hear the quietest whisper deep inside your heart, even before you've started to say it? Because God knows exactly what you need even before you ask him," Jesus told them.
"You see, God just can't wait to give you all that you need. So you don't need to use long words or special words. You don't have to use a special voice. You just need to talk.
"So when you pray, pray in your normal voice, just like when you're talking to someone you love very much.
Like this . . .
Hello Daddy!We want to know you.And be close to you.Please show us how.Make everything in the world right again.And in our hearts, too.Do what is best -- just like you do in heaven,And please do it down here, too.Please give us everything we need today.Forgive us for doing wrong, for hurting you.Forgive us just as we forgive other people when they hurt us.Rescue us! We need you.We don't want to keep running away and hiding from you.Keep us safe from our enemies.You're strong, God.You can do whatever you want.You are in charge.Now and forever and for always!We think you're great!Amen!Yes we do!
You see, Jesus was showing people that God would always love them -- with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
So they didn't need to hide anymore, or be afraid, or ashamed. The could stop running away from God. And they could run to him instead.
As a little child runs into her daddy's arms.
(taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones)
As I read the words aloud to my sweet little buddy, I felt like Jesus was whispering to my heart as well.
God listens to you because he loves you. "Did you know that God is always listening to you? Did you know that God can hear the quietest whisper deep inside your heart, even before you've started to say it? Because God knows exactly what you need even before you ask him,
Are you tearing up right now? Oh just me, errr okay . . .
Too often, I complicate things. I get caught up in Christian-ese because I've been fluent in it since birth. I get tricked into thinking that eloquence is the key as opposed to authenticity.
I'm grateful for a God who speaks to me as I get to speak of Him to the children I love.
I feel like for a while now, and I've been ignoring Him, God has been telling me to simplify.
Simplify the words I use, simplify all the things that I've complicated.
To go back to the basics. Aka - back to Jesus.
cue fresh air feeling
Advent is such a perfect season because it points to the King who came into a world that was caught up in tradition and who broke all the rules by forgiving sin, extending grace, and showing mercy.
That Jesus, that's the One I pray to.
Our culture has all sorts of rules about Christmas.
All the rules are dumb if we're not CONSTANTLY pointing to Jesus in the way we live each day of our lives.
We've got to point to Him everywhere that we go.
(I'm not compensated for writing these words, I simply love this Bible and would recommend it to any parent for their kids).