Prayer Lessons from a 4-Year-Old
By Melody Mason
A few years ago a friend from Oregon shared a story about his son Caleb, who was four years old at the time. While Caleb is much older now, this story continues to impact my life, and I wanted to share it again, as I know it will bless many others as it has me.
As is usual with most 4-year-olds, little Caleb had gotten into trouble for disobeying and as a result had been punished.
The next day, out of the blue, he asked his father, "Daddy, am I going to disobey today?"
His father responded with a smile: "I don't know buddy. That is up to you. I hope you don't."
With childlike determination, Caleb spoke decidedly, "I don't want to disobey."
Not long after it was time for Caleb to take his nap, so his father asked him to put away his toys. Immediately Caleb responded in a whiny voice, "But I don't want to."
His father then reminded him of his statement earlier about not wanting to disobey. With out missing a beat, little Caleb asked, "Daddy, can we pray?"
"Of course we can pray," his father said.
So father and son knelt down right there, and without any prompting, Caleb asked Jesus for a new heart to help him obey. Then he got up and immediately, without complaining, put his toys away and went down for a nap.
Imagine how different our lives might turn out if, every time we face the temptation to compromise our faith or disobey, we pray, “Dear God, please give me a new heart and help me to obey You.” It is a simple, childlike prayer, but that’s all that is required. If we pray this with sincerity of heart just like Caleb, God will answer. He will give us strength to do what is right.
Matthew 18:3, 4 says, “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
May we learn from Caleb’s sweet example!
I love the following thought from Christ Object Lessons: “Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unChristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul” (p. 159).
Here’s one more powerful thought:
“If we would but learn the wonderful lessons which Jesus sought to teach His disciples from a little child, how many things that now seem insurmountable difficulties would wholly disappear! When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? … Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven'” (Adventist Home, p. 279).
Dear Heavenly Father, Help us to learn to humble ourselves as little children. Teach us how to pray and how to obey. Teach us how to give you our will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Melody Mason is coordinator for United in Prayer and author of Daring to Ask for More and Daring to Live by Every Word.
World Church Prayer Requests
February 26 – March 4, 2021
• Pray that God would give us hearts of simple trust and sweet humility, like a child.
• Pray for the upcoming week of prayer that the General Conference holds each March for their staff.
• Pray for all the church leaders (and others) who are working from home during this Covid pandemic, that they will be even more productive in their work and not burn out from so many online zoom meetings.
• Pray for those you know who are still struggling with limited work and finances, during this pandemic. Pray for ways that you can help.
• Pray for the upcoming World Youth Day, which occurs March 20, 2021. Pray that many young people will take part and lives will be changed for eternity.