Learning From My Toddler

I  am humbled daily as I learn things from my son. He just turned two a couple of days ago, and he is teaching me, his 23 year old father. Do not get me wrong, my son is great, but he should not be teaching me I feel. I should know these things. Yet I watch my sons love and childlike faith and it is so infectious. And my son has been teaching me again what it means to have a childlike faith.

I have NEVER seen anyone in my life so excited to pray as Carter. When we sit down for a meal, if you are not telling him that we need to get ready to pray before you sit down, his hands are already folded and he is telling you “pray.” His face lights up with his adorable smile as we pray, and he can always sense the end of a prayer and he unfolds his hands, peaks out of the corner of his eyes, and smirks ready to say “AMEN” as soon as you do! When we go to bed at night we do the same. As a baby I would cradle him in my arms and pray and he was smiling at this by the age of 6 months. Now we sit next to his bed and he climbs in my lap and folds his hands and I fold mine over his. And he gets SO excited about these things and it makes my heart melt.

Where has this joy gone in Christian adults today? One of the two simplest forms of spiritual discipline that we make out to be this straining chore, when in fact it should be a joy to us. We literally can go to the throne room in prayer, communicating with our heavenly Father. Yet we are happy sitting down here with leftovers, and then wonder why we do not see things growing fruitfully. We haven’t been giving them to God. We keep these with a closed fist and not an open hand.

Now a childlike faith is not a childish faith. As you grow, you leave the childishness behind you. Yet, you should have that cheer and giddy and trust that a child has in their parents. We as Christians ask why we aren’t seeing God more in our culture, and I would hazard to say its because we do not take enough time to pray. It blows my mind how few of our kids and members alike in churches do not feel comfortable praying and say things like they don’t know how. You know how you get comfortable and learn to pray? By doing it.

Carter Jaymes may be a mess. Carter may be wild and crazy. But he is also a little ball of joy and love who can brighten your day with his laugh. And if you are just crazy enough, let yourself try one time to let him teach you. Or watch your kids if you have raised them doing it. Because prayer is something we had to teach Carter as he was growing up. I prayed with him every night from the time I was swaddling him up, and I am starting to do that with Margaret now too.

But if you teach your kids, let them teach you as well. You teach them the what and they will teach you the how. Children will show you what it looks like to be joyful and happy in your faith. I know Carter has with us. As a minister, I so often feel as if prayer is something I have to do in situations and I find myself not taking pleasure in it at the start. Carter is teaching me how though and I am so thankful for that.

I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,

Josh Gentry

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