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Like a Little Child

"Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them,  for of such is the kingdom
of God.  Truly I say to you, everyone who enters the Kingdom of God must receive it like a
little child." (Luke 18:16-17)

We should come to God just as we like our children to come to us.

When you come before God in prayer, be respectful, but not stiff and formal. Be familiar, but not rude.  Don't insist.  Don't throw tantrums.  Don't whine.   Be willing accept your Father's answer even if He refuses, trusting that He has your best interests at heart.

In prayer, should we ask boldly or diffidently? Both.  The Spirit says that we should "Come boldly before the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16) -- so we should be confident in our privelege to address Him.  On the other hand, the Spirit also says, "Do not be rash with your mouth, and do not be hasty of heart to say anything before God; for God is in heaven, and you are on earth: therefore let your words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Should we be insistent or compliant in prayer?   Both.  Jesus tells the story of a widow who pesters a judge until he rules in her favor, and His punch line is: "Will not God do right in the cause of his saints, whose cries come day and night to his ears, though he is long in doing it?" (Luke 18:7, BBE) On the other hand, Jesus Himself prayed, "Father, not My will, but Yours be done."(Luke 22:42)

Be very careful in your insistence.  Are you moved by the vehemence of your own child's tantrums?  Sometimes you may concede, but not willingly or happily. God conceded to Hezekiah's whining and extended his life (Isaiah 38:1-5), but things might have been better had Hezekiah accepted God's original plan (for one, Manasseh would not have been born, who became the worst king in Judah's history).

Some headstrong children are always pushing and contending. With such children, every encounter is a struggle.  This was Jacob's way with God (Genesis 32:24-30).  He got what he asked for, but he was not a happy man (Genesis 47:9).  Neither will you be, if you are an insistent child of God.

Is it not much better to be quiet in His presence, wait until your own raging desires and rambling thoughts settle down, and listen for His instruction? (1 Kings 19:11-13)  Is it not better to travel His path, rather than trying to make your own?  The choice is yours, whether you want your life to be a race on smooth ground, or a slog through muddy morass.

Remember when the Israelites fought against the wayward tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20). They had already determined to fight, and they asked God to help them with the details.  Twice God gave them answers, and twice they were whupped. Only after they truly submitted themselves to God, and made the entire decision His, did He answer with a promise of victory.

Prayer: Father, it is Your Spirit that moves us to cry out to You as 'Abba, Father'.  We want to You to enjoy us as good children, just as we enjoy our children when they are good.  By Your Spirit, please perfect and maintain in us a child's heart, even as we strive for a mature understanding of You and Your ways.  I pray in the name of Jesus, Your perfect Son and my perfect Lord.

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Copyright © 2002 CrossPollen
Last Revised: October 16, 2002

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