My sweet little E has been loving to pray recently. I’ve been working on teaching her a simple prayer, having her repeat after me ‘God, I love you. Jesus, I love you. Spirit, I love you. Amen.’ She only repeats about half the words and the ones she does say are less than clear, but each and every time, we end with the most enthusiastic ‘Amen!’
But ‘amen’ is no longer reserved just for her prayers. Whereas most people might finish a book with the phrase ‘the end’, for my E it’s now a satisfied ‘amen’. When I finished my cereal at breakfast this morning, she looked at my empty bowl and instead of her typical ‘all gone’, gave me a heartfelt ‘amen.’
My daughter will be 18 months old next week and I think her faith has me beat.
When Jesus was with his friends, they asked him who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In response, Jesus called a little child to him and said to his friends, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-4). It makes perfect sense. Maybe E’s just in the stage of overgeneralizing. Maybe she’s just learned a new word and excited to use it. Maybe she has no idea that her constant ‘amen’s are transforming every moment of her day into prayer. But honestly, I think maybe she just gets it. She isn’t yet burdened with social norms or ideas of what prayer should look like. She doesn’t care what people think of her or if she used the wrong words. She is just living a life filled with awe and joy for the world around her.
My heart bursts when I look at her because I am so in love. And while I thought parenting would be me showing her how the world works and what it looks like to love Jesus, it turns out, she’s probably the better teacher. So I spent some time reflecting on what it would look like if I followed her lead a little more.
What would it look like if I lived my day with the wonder, trust, and overflowing thanksgiving that E shows? Like my daughter trusts that I will go to her when she cries, what if I put all my trust in the Good Father who does the same for me? What if, like E, I marveled at every flower, rock, and squirrel that I passed each day, living in wonder of Creation? What if, in the most mundane and simple moments, I lifted up an ‘amen’, praising God for each breath, book, and bowl of cereal throughout my day? What would it look like to live each day fully engulfed by His goodness, our lives as one big prayer?