There is no second guessing what we must be like to enter the kingdom of heaven. There is no test to pass to see if we have reached the right score on the righteousness scale. There is no spiritual timepiece to measure the minimum requirement for prayer and Bible study. There are no quotas on the number of people we must win to the Lord. There is only one required standard to enter the kingdom of heaven: childlike faith in Christ as Savior.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them. For to such belongs the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:14). What are the characteristics of children that impact the faith that we need to enter the kingdom?
One of the enviable characteristics of children is that they are simple. A little child is perfectly happy with socks that don't match or a shirt with a tear. Children can walk around with their hair uncombed or smears of food or dirt on their faces and be completely at ease. They aren't into designer clothes and accessories unless they are taught to be. When they have people in their lives pouring blessings and praise on them, telling them how beautiful and exceptional they are, and loving them unconditionally, they are perfectly secure. It is miraculous how little children who aren't getting this kind of care can still exhibit childlike simplicity. It comes naturally. The part of the brain or psyche that rises and falls on what others think has not been awakened in little children.
I am experiencing the wonder of having grandchildren. Oh, what fun it is. One of our daughters named our first granddaughter Cameron. I am completely ruined. I get to see Cameron every day and twice on a good day. Our grandson, Isaac, is one year older than Cameron and was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. You can imagine all the stuff he received. But when the dust had settled after three years and countless toys, his favorite plaything was a huge box. It was a big old hot-tub box that he and Granny Annie painted, cut windows and a door in, and decorated. You could see it in Cameron's eyes as she grew; she was drooling (literally) with envy until the day she could crawl into the box.
Both those little kids set aside the state-of-the-art, brain-training-based, and developmentally appropriate toys that had all the bells, whistles, flashing lights and voice synthesized stimulus in favor of a plain cardboard box. Those two children would leave behind a digital, flashing, vibrating toy phone for a wooden spoon and a pot. It really doesn't take a great deal of stimulus and gadgetry to make a child happy. What does it take to make you happy and put a smile on your face? What prayer does God need to answer to make you satisfied?
Expectations, complexity and busyness have become the American way of life. The expectations of being a good parent and provider and the bombardment of information through media and the Internet are two of the most prevalent things that lead to the complications and hurriedness in our lives. The multitasking lifestyle of today seems to lead to this unsurprising conclusion for most Christians: we're too busy to pray.
Conversely it seems children can live very spartanly and be quite happy. Little Isaac's mom and dad are doctors and are training him to eat all foods and drink water. It is fascinating and unusual to see a little child drink water and be happy. However, I think almost all children are healthier and just as satisfied with water until they are introduced to our addictive, sugar-saturated, placating drinks. Our Lord gave us a very simple prescription for prayer in our daily living. He said to pray for daily provision, to be able to live in forgiveness, and to be freed from temptation and the evil one. Yes, prayer can be very simple.
I am convinced that childlikeness is the only position that will bring us the freedom to slow down and let prayer permeate the depths of our lives throughout the day. Prayer and busyness are like oil and water. They simply don't mix well. Every one of us has limitations. We have a maximum capacity or limit on our bandwidth, if you will. Busyness is like video streaming to the bandwidth of our souls (mind, emotions, and will). Busyness devours the soul's bandwidth and leaves no room for prayer to run on the communication highway to God. Childlikeness removes hindrances to prayer.
Adapted from 40 Days Through the Prayers of Jesus by Tim Cameron, copyright 2017, published by Charisma House. This book will help you study Jesus's prayer life and give you keys to praying so that you receive answers. To order your copy click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of Nov. 11, 2018
This week, humble yourself as a little child and keep things simple as you approach God's throne in prayer. Pray for those who suffered loss of loved ones and others who were affected by the mass murders in California last week. Also pray that our nation's leaders would work together for the good of the country. Continue to pray for revival so that we would be united in prayer and purpose. Pray that God would pour out His Spirit in our churches, our nation and throughout the world. Read: Matthew 19:13-15 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
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