I love listening to my kids pray. There is such a sweet tenderness found there. Our five-year-old son, Comerson, loves to pray and typically jumps right in at dinner time to let his prayer be known.
“Dear God, thank you for Daddy, and Mommy, and Kade, and Avery, and Addie, and Luna [as he looks around the table at everyone sitting there]. And help me get a good nights sleep. And help me stay in my bed. And I not be scared. And thank you for food. And Spiderman. Amen.”
Because of course, Spiderman needs our prayers. He has the entire city of New York to look out for. Clearly, he needs God’s help!
It’s simple. It’s sincere. And it clearly correlates to the level of his knowledge about God. He is five years old.But as we grow in our knowledge of God, our prayer lives change. Our prayers become deeply rooted in the character of God. They become an intimate conversation. They become an open dialogue.
The Apostle Paul knew how to pray. He was a man who exhibited great boldness. Raised the dead. Healed the sick. Found that jail chains could not keep him bound. But his courageousness extended beyond himself…it was rooted in and grounded in God. Look at his prayer for the church of Ephesus. Pay close attention. What did he want the people to know? Ephesians 1:15-19 (NIV) says, “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”
Webster defines “know” as having developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; to be familiar or friendly with.
Why do you think Paul would pray for the people of Ephesus to know God better? Why didn’t he pray for them to have bigger houses or name-brand clothes? Why didn’t he ask God to help their kids make the cheerleading squad or football team? Why didn’t he ask God for material wealth? Any ideas? Why is the knowledge of God so important?
To know God means more than knowing about God, it means experiencing Him throughout our daily living. Our experience with God impacts every fabric within our daily life. Our thoughts. Our actions. Our heart. Our underlying motivation is that our Heavenly Father knows us too.
What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it—the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands [Isa. 49:16]. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort—the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates—in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
—Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 41-42, emphasis added.
Ask God to be your daily bread. Ask him to meet you right where you are.