Our First Conversation

My sister-in-law used to rate prayers. After someone would lead in prayer during a worship service she would lean over to my brother and whisper, “I give it an 8.5 out of 10.”
Now before you get upset that this is improper and start quoting Bible verses about “judge not,” let me tell you that she was not mean-spirited about this. She had not grown up in the church, nor had she experienced a church where people prayed spontaneously instead of reciting memorized prayers. So she was just taking notice of the fact that some people were more comfortable with praying out loud in front of others. We all have recognized the same thing. She just voiced it, however crassly.
Many times I have been there listening to someone pray. They speak with such eloquence in perfect King James syntax, putting all the “thee’s” and “thou’s” in just the right places. Or they pray with such heartfelt fervency that heaven itself seems to open up before them. And it just depresses me because I know that my prayers are not like that. Their prayers are Shakespeare and mine are a 5th grade essay marked down for mistakes in grammar.
But it’s OK if our prayers don’t meet high literary standards. It doesn’t matter if we can’t quote Scriptures or speak in Old English. It is irrelevant whether we can pray with flowery, mellifluous language. God meets us where we are. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26, NIV)
When Zach was three years old I was giving him a bath. He stuck his tongue to his lips and blew a raspberry, “bbllbbllblblblbl.” I responded in kind, “bblbllbllbbblllb.” Zach looked at me and repeated his first statement. I answered back using the same inflection he did. He blew another raspberry, this time longer in duration. I matched his timing. He blew a sequence of longer and shorter blasts. I repeated back the same sentence. This went on for some time until he finally tired of it.
That was my first conversation with my son.
It wasn’t sophisticated. It wasn’t refined. It wasn’t deep. But I loved it.
We have had many such conversations since that day. And even though Zach hasn’t spoken to me in English yet, he has still communicated to me many things. He doesn’t have to be eloquent or Shakespearian. I just love to hear my boy speak to me.
I think our heavenly Father feels the same way. Our prayers might just be “blblbbbllblblllbllllbbb” in comparison to other people, but our Father loves it and understands it just the same.

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