Children can be so refreshing, open and honest! In Children’s Letters to God, a collection of children’s prayers reveals their beliefs, desires, questions, and doubts. And despite the misspelled words and grammatical mistakes, they all express hope and trust. In just a few words, one boy let God know about his feelings and what he wanted…
Dear God, I wrote you before do you remeber? Well I did what I promised. But you did not send me the horse yet. What about it? Lewis
Lewis prayed in faith, believing and trusting that God heard his prayer. Matthew 21:22 tells us, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” We are to pray in faith, even though God’s answer may not be exactly what we asked for!
And like Lewis’ prayer, our prayers do not need correct spelling and grammar. In fact, we do not even have to express our prayers with clarity. Sometimes we can’t even find the words to express our heartfelt needs to the Lord. But we can trust that God knows what we need, what is best for us, and he just wants us to come to him.
And when we come, we can know that the Holy Spirit speaks to God for us, constantly interceding for us. And if that were not enough, we have an intercessor in heaven—Jesus!
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
Because God knows our hearts, he knows what is best for us. But he also wants us to come to him with a pure heart. When we first acknowledge that we need Jesus’ saving grace, and we trust in his death and resurrection as payment for our sin, Christ declares that we are righteous and eternally saved.
However, in our humanness, we STILL SIN, and this sin interferes with our fellowship with Christ. We need to be honest with ourselves about our shortcomings, confess them to God and perhaps to others, if we want to enjoy intimacy with Christ.
Personal holiness is a condition of prayer throughout the Bible. James tells us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). The apostle John wrote that we receive from God anything we ask because “we keep his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:22). And, thankfully, the psalmist reminds us that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).
God will hear and respond to our prayers of praise and petition when we ASK in Christ’s name, ASK in abiding faith, ASK in the Spirit, and ASK from a pure heart!
--by Jane Hall, NCF National Director