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Pray Like a Child

A few nights back, I decided it was time to teach Penny the Lord's Prayer. I was kneeling beside her bed, as I always do at bedtime. She sat up and put her hands together. "I'll say a line, and then you repeat it.""Otay.""Our Father," I started, but then interrupted myself. "Penny, did you know that God is our father just like Dad is your father, well, in a similar way..." My theological education started racing by–is it a fact that God is our Father, or is it a metaphor? It was important that Jesus' followers knew God was "ours," for everyone, but what would Penny think. I decided, "Dear God," would do. Okay, moving on."Who art in heaven..." I stopped myself again. "Well, God does live in heaven, but God is also here with us all the time."By the time I was trying to explain "hallowed," I realized we were done."Okay, Pen, we're going to do a little modification here:"Dear God, who lives in heaven and also with us, your name is great." (She liked the last part: Great!) "We'd like for it to be like heaven here on earth. Give us what we need each day. And forgive us when we do things that are wrong. And help us forgive other people too."Penny repeated faithfully up to that point. Then she said, "All done, Mom."So we'll take up the translation of "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" another day. But I hope we'll keep praying this version of the Lord's Prayer, because it makes me stop to think what it actually means, and it reminds me that Jesus taught his followers that they should have faith like a child.

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