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What My Daughter Taught Me About Prayer

daddy & bella 2My two-year-old daughter, Ruth Ysabella (whom we affectionately call Bella for short), has been sick for a couple of days with a fever. The fluctuations between warm and cool weather these past few days have been a perfect season for diseases to spread. Add in a preschool with little two to three year old viral incubators running about (otherwise known as children) and you have the perfect hot zone.

One evening, I was in the living room attempting to catch up a project for church that I needed to present to the elders board. My daughter was with my wife in bed, who was attempting to get her to sleep. However, Bella was in no mood to sleep. My wife, on the other hand, succumbed to sleep’s hazy embrace, leaving Bella to her own devices.

As I typed away on my laptop, I noticed the door handle to the closed bedroom door was jiggling back and forth. Someone was trying to open it but without any success. And there was only one person in our family who would have trouble opening a door: a three-foot princess called Bella!

I smiled and rose from the table to open the door. When I did, my beautiful daughter stood there in her pajamas looking up at me with those deep brown soulful eyes. Smiling, I told her that she needed to be in bed since she wasn’t feeling well. What she said to me, for the first time ever, melted my heart: “I wanted to be with you, Daddy.” I picked her up and she hugged my neck and placed her head on my shoulder, kissing it every now and then. I enjoyed being with her every second after that.

I needed this interaction with my daughter. Not because I am starved for her affection, but because it helped me to recognize my interactions with my heavenly Father. Many times I struggle in prayer to God because, deep down inside, I believe that He really doesn’t want to be around me. Yes, I know the verses that say otherwise. But being transparent, that is how I feel sometimes. But Bella helped me to put things into a proper Biblical perspective.

When I consider God, He does not need a single thing from me. He is God after all. In Psalm 50:12 it says, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.” He doesn’t even need me for company; He is after all a part of the Trinity. But He actually enjoys being with me. To me, that is crazy! But it’s true nonetheless. In Isaiah 30:18 it says that “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.”

He longs for me! He waits on high to have compassion on me! This is just seems too good to be true. But the amazing thing is that this is completely true of God. Even in John 17:3 when it says, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent,” it conveys the idea of relationship. It doesn’t say, “that they may know about you,” but “that they may KNOW you.”

Even the verse that most people associate with evangelism, but was actually directed to a lukewarm church, shows that God wants interaction. The verse in question in Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” In Middle Eastern culture, to dine with someone was considered an intimate affair; sharing a meal with someone meant close interaction, communication and friendship. And here is Jesus saying that this is what He is looking for in us His Church – a close relationship; face to face interaction (like Moses in the Old Testament).

So maybe I will finally give up in this deep-seated apprehension of coming to God. It is time for me to approach God, jiggle the handle of prayer, and when the door opens, I will look up with the same child-like faith that my Bella had with me, and say simply to my Abba, my holy Father in heaven, “I wanted to be with you, Daddy.”