The other day I was trying to wake Linnea up to get ready to go to her day school. Waking her up is seldom easy, but I was trying to be extra gentle this morning because she’d been sick the past two days. On about my second or third trip into her room to say, “C’mon, Linnea, it’s time to get up,” she turned her head toward me—she was lying on her stomach—and said, “shhh, Dad, I’m praying.” “Oh, okay,” I said, and walked out of the room. I figured either she really was praying (her prayers have amazed me at times) or she’d stumbled onto a surefire way to play me for a fool. I was fairly convinced it was the latter, but, in the event she really was praying I didn’t want to interrupt. And I sure didn’t want to get in the way of what God might be doing in the heart of my little girl.
A few minutes later I went back to her room. She was lying on her back now with her hands pressed together like a steeple. Once again, I figured she was either pretty darned consistent; she’d heard me coming down the hall and put her hands together like praying hands to help convince me, when in reality she’d grabbed a few more minutes of sleep, or she really had been praying. A few seconds after I entered the room she said, “Okay, I’m done,” and climbed cheerily into my arms.
“What were you praying for?” I asked.
“I was praying for Uncle Rodney (Susanne’s uncle was in a motorcycle accident last Thursday) and for your shoulder to get better.”
“That’s great,” I said. “I appreciate you praying for me.”
Ten minutes later, as we were eating breakfast, Linnea said, “Dad, I’m sorry I took so long praying, but I was letting God and Jesus have a turn.”
“Letting God and Jesus have a turn. What do you mean?”
“I was letting them say something. It’s nice to let others have a turn, you know.”
“It sure is. And what did God and Jesus have to say?”
“They said they want Uncle Rodney to feel better, too, and for your shoulder to feel better and for me to not be sick.”
“Well that’s great. I sure appreciate you praying.”
Since our conversation, I’ve been thinking a lot about “letting God and Jesus have a turn.” I’ve read a lot about prayer lately, contemplative prayer in particular, and one author suggested that perhaps too many of our prayers are taken up with our talking when, if it’s really a two-way conversation, we should be spending some of our prayer time just listening. It’s rare that I do that. I’m not a great prayer warrior; not nearly as committed to prayer as I both want and sense I need to be. I wonder what I might hear if I let God and Jesus have a turn sometimes? It can’t hurt to listen. Maybe a five year-old has something to teach me about prayer.