Jump directly to the Content


With all the defiance of a mongrel whelp, my four-year-old son stared me down and issued his answer: "No!" For the past four bedtimes, young John had become increasingly obstinate about praying.

"You're going to pray if I have to wait here all night!"

I heard myself utter this benign threat and had to wonder who let the crazy man in. What had happened to the wisdom of a hundred seminars on child rearing?

But if John could play his role, I was going to get an Oscar for mine.

"John, sit up and tell me what you want to pray for."

John ignored me and I panicked. Here I was, a pastor, a family counselor, a cherisher of boyhood memories, a crusader for handling children the right way. My jaw was tight, my lip curled, and above those was a top about to blow. (Would God enter the scene with a pearl of wisdom or at least an off-stage prompt? Apparently not. So I improvised.)

"John, you always pray. Isn't there someone you would like to pray for?" (John pretends he is asleep.)

"John, Jesus likes it when ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
How Jesus rescued a New Age psychic from spiritual darkness.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.