Matt had a bad headache last night, so I told him I would put Jonah to bed myself. We included Daddy and his head in our nightly prayers. At this point, Jonah still chooses to repeat what I pray and hasn't really ventured into praying for himself. He was very concerned about Matt's head though and fervently repeated my prayer that he feel better.
After we finished prayers, we were just lying there talking, and started talking about God and Jesus and Gabe living up in Heaven.
Jonah: I want Gabe to come to my house.
Me: I know, Buddy, but Gabe can't. He lives up in Heaven with God and Jesus. And you know what? Someday we will go live up there too, with them.
Jonah: And God will play cars with me?
Me: I bet He would! Do you think that would be fun?
Me: What cars do you think God would like to play with?
Jonah: (kind of starry voiced) Ohhhh, He play with Pretty Car (his Prius) and Recycling Truck and Grampa's Car (a little red car we have).
Me: Wow, Jonah! Those are some of your favorites. You would let God play with those?
Jonah: Sure He can!
Me: And what car is your favorite?
Jonah: Green Van!
Me: Do you think you would let Jesus play with your Green Van?
Jonah: How 'bout Jonah play with it first?
Me: Sure. I bet Jesus would be happy for you to play with it first, but then maybe He could take a turn?
I don't know what it was, exactly, about the conversation that touched me, but ever since it happened, I just can't stop thinking about the verses in Matthew where Jesus talks about humbling ourselves and becoming like little children - that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those of us who change and become like them.
Fast forward to an hour or so later. Jonah was still awake in bed and we had to go up for something. Matt's head was feeling better. When he walked in the room and went to hug Jonah, Jonah asked him if his head was feeling better. When Matt said that it was, Jonah, with excitement and sincerity, squealed, "I PRAYED FOR YOU!"
Matt and I were lying in bed a little later, and I said, "Is there anything sweeter than that? Having your three year old son say that he prayed for you?" Matt agreed that there wasn't.
And I just keep thinking about Jonah's prayers. That even though he's just repeating what I'm saying, coming from his no-ulterior-motive, pure little heart, how powerful they must be. I read in Exodus 33 the other night that God would speak to Moses face to face, "as a man speaks with his friend." And then I think about how Jonah wants to be in Heaven, face to face with God and Jesus so they can play cars together... like he does with his friends.
Oh, that I could get all the "adult" stuff - preconceived notions, my (limited, in-a-box) perception of who God is, selfish ambition, distractions, sinful thoughts, worldy things - out of my head, and just approach God as a child does. As a friend, talking to a friend.
I'm praying today to know God as a friend, for the ability to become like a child and approach Him with a new awe and innocence... and trusting that God, through his Spirit, empowers me to do so... that with the sacrifice of Jesus, we are able to approach God personally, intimately, and be His face-to-face friend.
Matthew 18:3-4 - And He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."
Matthew 19:14 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."
Exodus 33:11 - "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with this friend."