Monday of Pentecost 17 – Prayer of the Week

 O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

It was two in the morning, and something was not right. My wife and I had been rejoicing for a couple months that our daughter was sleeping through the night. Now, this night, she was decidedly not sleeping. She was in her crib in the next room shrieking. My daughter has always been someone who could fill a room with her voice. It is a beautiful voice which now she puts to wonderful purposes in various choirs. It was not so great at two in the morning when she was a little child. It was certainly not something you could ignore.

I lurched out of bed and stumbled across the hall. By the dim illumination of a night light, I could see her sitting up in her crib, tears streaming down her face. She saw me. Immediately her arms lifted in the universal language of little children: Pick me up! I gathered her into my arms, and she rested her head against my shoulder. We walked around the room and down the hall a couple of times and soon she was back asleep and resting in her crib once more.

We pray for a child-like faith in this prayer. What makes faith “child-like”? It is not innocence or some purity, but the complete trust of a child in their parent. That gesture by my daughter of lifting her arms and asking me to pick her up and hold her is what I am thinking of. I never did figure out what troubled her that night, but the embrace of a parent was exactly what she wanted and needed. The ancient Christians prayed with their hands raised with their eyes wide open (I have included a picture from the catacombs to show what I mean). The practice we have of eyes closed, hands folded, and head bowed came to prominence in the medieval period. This image and those ancient Christians really remind me of my daughter that night.

One does not need to assume this posture to pray. God hears our prayers no matter what stance we take, but the child-like faith simply says, “Abba” which is the Aramaic for “Daddy.” God is the solution to every one of our problems.

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