This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Jim Teague,
FPCE director of communications.

Dear friends –

Author Paul Miller begins his book A Praying Life, by encouraging us to “become like a child.” He notes Jesus encouraged his disciples in childlike behavior on more than one occasion (Mark 10:14-15, Matthew 18:3, just to name a few).

My sons, who often remind me how much of an embarrassment I am to them, will tell you I have no problems being childish. But Jesus is calling us to be childlike. Miller says our prayers should reflect the following attributes of children:

  • Come messy. Children don’t show up in the world able to walk, talk, clean their rooms or balance a checkbook. When we pray, we can come to Jesus with every mess in our lives, little or big. If we wait until we have it all figured out, we will never feel ready to pray.
  • Be the real you! With toddlers, what you see is what you get. God doesn’t want us to clean ourselves up and present our requests to him as someone who already has it all together. In fact, Miller says, “The only way to come to God is by taking off any spiritual mask. The real you has to meet the real God. He is a person.”
  • Avoid doing prayer as a chore. When Jesus opens his example of prayer with “Our father,…” (Luke 11:2-4), he is teaching us to remember “the heavenly Father’s affection.” By joining in a conversation with one who loves us, we can move away from the duty of prayer to the restorative relationship it is meant to be.

This morning, before writing this, I happened to be reading in Psalm 77. It begins:

I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan;
I meditate, and my spirit faints.

I was struck by the childlike honesty of the Psalmist.

  • He wants to be heard.
  • He needs help and won’t stop asking until he gets an answer.
  • His troubles are too much for him and he is getting tired.

We are all in situations like that sometimes. I find it so encouraging to know that God isn’t surprised or unhearing when we bring our troubles to him.

This week we have the great privilege of welcoming back Rev. Dave Bianchin to the First Pres pulpit. He served as interim senior pastor at First Pres in 2008 and 2009, prior to the arrival of Rev. Ray Hylton.

Rev. Bianchin will be teaching from Matthew 11:25-30, where Jesus celebrates that God has “hidden these things (the truths of the Kingdom) from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.” Dave’s message is entitled “Strength for the Journey, Rest for Our Souls.” Join us Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary (and online).

Looking forward with childlike (and maybe a little childish) awe to the fullness of God’s kingdom.

Grace and peace!

Jim Teague
FPCE director of communications