Have you ever heard a Prayer Story that built your faith and motivated you to take your burdens to the Lord with more fervency? I’d like to tell you one. I hope you will be encouraged and that you will be willing to place your trust in the One who saved you for so much more than the day you meet Him in Heaven.
**But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. ** Luke 18:16
When we arrived as missionaries in Spain in 1997, our middle son, Jonathan, was about 6 years old. Although we all had some adjusting to do to this new culture, Jon adapted quickly to most of the changes that our new country offered to us. He made friends wherever he went and was always wandering off exploring anything that caught his attention.
Being 6, he still maintained his child-like faith. He trusted the Lord to be with him wherever he went and in whatever new discovery or challenge this new life brought. He was undaunted by the changes we were all going through. He was an example to the rest of us to step into our own faith and take life less seriously!
Before and after arriving in Spain, we often celebrated God’s answers to our prayers. At dinner, we would take turns asking the blessing over the food and add any current prayer requests we had received and/or pray for our own family’s needs. This often included other missionaries and their fields, financial challenges, health issues, language difficulties, and family needs for those back home.
Not too long after we settled into our new life, Jonathan would take his turn to pray at meals and began to mention his maternal grandfather. My dad had smoked cigarettes since he was a teenager. He had had a tough life and smoking somehow gave him some peace and comfort. He smoked a couple packs of cigarettes a day. Over the years he did try to quit on his own, but never was able to leave it for long. He struggled to win that battle over this lifetime habit.
At our dinner prayer time, Jonathan began to ask God to help Grandpa stop smoking. His request surprised us because we hadn’t been discussing this with him or the other children. But somewhere in his mind and heart, he remembered his Grandpa and was burdened to pray for him.
Every time that it was Jon’s turn to pray, he would ask the Lord the same thing. “Please help Grandpa to stop smoking”. This went on for months, maybe even a year. ” Please help Grandpa to stop smoking”. Pure and simple, straight to the point and filled with the faith of a child.
Time moved on and Jon stopped mentioning his Grandpa. Back then money was tight and the children were enrolled in a private school, so our visits Stateside happened only every couple of years.
On our next summer visit, we all went out to dinner with my Dad. We had a nice meal and caught up with each other’s lives and my Dad had a chance to get to know his grandchildren.
At the end of the meal, I turned to my Dad and said, “Dad, it’s okay if you want to smoke, we are all used to the Spaniards smoking, nearly all of them do.” (this was back when smoking in restaurants was still allowed both in the U.S. and Spain)
My Dad said something like, ” Sue, I don’t smoke anymore. I gave it up a couple of years ago. One day, I just said I didn’t want to smoke anymore and I never smoked again. “
I was stunned.
And then the Lord reminded me of Jon’s prayers.
I said, “Dad, a couple years ago, Jon started praying for you. He asked God every day at dinner to help you stop smoking! ”
I turned to Jon and said, ” Jon, did you hear that???? God answered your prayers!! Grandpa doesn’t smoke anymore! “
When I looked back at my Dad, tears were running down his face. I don’t remember if he said anything at that time because he was pretty emotional. But MANY times after that, especially after recovering from a heart attack years later, he thanked me for Jon’s prayers to help him stop smoking. He believed that his giving up smoking lengthened his life and helped him in overcoming health issues over the years.
Children are not afraid to be bold with God. They do not cower before peer pressure, or hide behind insecurities. They are not too busy to take God at His Word and put their requests in front of Him. Nor does their pride keep them from expressing exactly what’s on their mind. They come to the Father openly and are transparent with their requests. They are incessant with their pure heart’s desires. And they easily yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading. We can learn so much from watching a child lean on their God.
Here in Luke 18, Jesus mentions children after two other passages on prayer. One story is about the widow who came continually before the judge with her requests. The other is about a Pharisee that thought that the Lord should be grateful that he believed in him and was taking the time to talk to Him.
Jonny’s faith was humble and sincere, like the widow woman’s. He simply believed that God could do what he asked. He knew that God had the power to do what my Dad wasn’t able to do.
And that is exactly what the Lord did! Jon’s prayers crossed an ocean and changed someone’s life, without us knowing the outcome for many months. His is a Prayer Story that Built our Family’s Faith.
My husband and I and our children have traveled over most of the United States and some of Europe in these past 26 years. We have met 1,000’s of Christians. We have heard the heartache, and the challenges of many pastors and laymen. But hardly ever has prayer come up in the conversation. Hardly ever has my husband been asked to join the men of the church in prayer. Not never, but hardly ever.
Today, we are all frustrated with these past year’s events. Many are discouraged about the future. And we have not only our own burdens to carry but we also carry the heartache of those close to us. Every one of us does. How many of those burdens have I put in the Lord’s hands? How many have I tried to deal with alone?
As I look back on my own life and it’s seasons of tests and trials, I wonder if I couldn’t have faced more of them with more faith and prayer. I wonder if I shouldn’t have more of my own prayer stories to tell. Have I faced most of my darker days fighting back in my own strength and wisdom or did I truly put those days in the Lord’s hands to deal with them as He saw fit and with His beyond this world’s power?
A Prayer Story that will Build your Faith is not one of fancy words. It is not one of years of education. It is a Prayer Story that approaches God with sincere, pure faith. The faith like that of a child. It is a story where only God is exalted and praised for what He has done. Our son, Jon, was just His instrument. The power of God was the protagonist.
*Suffer little children to come unto me …for of such is the kingdom of God.*
Let’s all ask the Lord for our own Prayer Story. A Story that lets others know that He hears us and He lives to care for our heart’s desires.