If you want to learn how to pray more effectively, look at a kid with a good dad. The way children interact with their father is very similar to our relationship with God.
For example, when my daughter, Ashlyn, was only a year old, she had this book called, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear.” She was absolutely crazy about it. She would ask me read it to her over and over and over. Honestly, it got old really fast.
I would be sitting on the couch working on my computer, paying bills, or trying to do something important. Out of nowhere, she would throw her book up on my lap. Then, with her tiny hands, she would pat my leg excitedly while pointing at the book and say, “Daddy, gook! Daddy gook!” (Which either meant “book” or “look.” I’m still not quite sure).
My heart melted every time she did this. So I would set down whatever I was doing and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
There were a few times where I would think to myself, “Why do I keep reading this boring book? Be strong, Brandon! It’s OK to say no!” But then I would look at her big smile and keep reading. Why? Because I am her father. I love my girl. I love making her happy. I would do anything for her. That is what good fathers do.
It is moments like these that helped me realized that our relationship with God is similar to my relationship with my child. God wants to spend time with us, and we need to spend time with him.
As an imperfect father, I am extremely limited. I only have so much time, energy and resources to give to my daughter. But God has no limitations. He can be anywhere at any time. He has unlimited resources. He is always ready to listen to you.
To pray more effectively, we have to understand our relationship to God as our perfect father. Jesus said it this way:
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
– Matthew 7:9-11
God is not some impersonal distant force who doesn’t care about you. He is not an angry judge waiting for you to break a law so He can zap you. He is not a grouchy old man up in heaven yelling at you to keep the noise down. God is a perfect and loving father. He wants you to talk to Him.
When we pray, if we understand God as Father, we don’t have to worry about sounding stupid. We don’t have to know exactly the right words to say. Even if we aren’t making any sense, He already knows what we are trying to say. He wants the best for us. He loves giving His children good gifts if they would just ask.
This understanding has been a game-changer for my prayer life. It can change yours as well. Prayer is as simple as trusting that God is a perfect, loving father who wants the best for you.
How could seeing God as your perfect, loving Father change your prayer life?