During Sunday dinner I sat across from my friend’s six-year-old daughter. I don’t recall what she said, but the expression on my friend’s face indicated that her daughter was more honest than she would have liked her to be. In her child-like honesty, being real before others, she did not think ahead about any rebuke. I appreciated the girl’s unashamed honesty.
Didn’t this sweet girl illustrate what Jesus taught us about being able to enter into His Kingdom? He welcomed children, indignant that the disciples rebuked the children. “He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’” (Mark 10:14-15, NIV).
I’m impressed that these were “little children,” possibly toddlers and pre-school age. They had not been tainted with too many expectations or troubled about how people think of their words and actions. These children exhibited the characteristics of honesty, love, and faithfulness in a natural way. That’s the way we should all come before our Savior – open, honest, and real.
How often we start our prayers with a hidden agenda about what’s expected, and we try to sound right and good. We’re not honest before the One who knows our thoughts even before they are framed into sentences. God wants us to open up, be true, real. We see that in King David’s prayers: “I am forgotten as though I were dead.” “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” “May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame” (Psalm 31:12; 38:4; 35:4). Yet, David often praised the Lord: “I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.” “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” “Praise him for his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 40:10; 37:25; 150:2).
God honors our open hearts, our petitions as well as our praise. I desire to be real before God.