My 15 year old son is on the autism spectrum. Having made a proclamation of faith in Christ at a very young age, his walk with God is nevertheless hard for me to figure out now. I can never tell if his praying is somehow related to his obsessive-compulsive tendencies or if there is truly a tender, believing heart. All I know is that when he gets it in his mind to pray for something, it gets added to what sure sounds like a “vain and repetitious” prayer at bedtime. It might even be added to mealtime prayers, too. Then on and on, forever and ever…until the prayer is answered one way or the other…he prays it.
In fact, sometimes his prayers sound so repetitious to me from night to night (or meal to meal) that I can say them with him…I know precisely what he will say “And protect Grandma and Grandpa and heal Leslie’s cancer and may she come to know you and may Andrea come to know you, too…” I kid you not. I have heard those words every night for at least the past 2 years since his other grandma died (and the prayer was only slightly different then) and my cousin developed brain cancer.
Since we have had only two days with a bit of rain since February (we live in DRY California), Daniel has added “Please bring rain” to his nightly (and mealtime) prayers. Sometimes, I must confess…I get such an attitude about it all…I am tempted to roll my eyes and I lip sync his prayer.
Truthfully, who is the one who needs the attitude adjustment? It is obviously me! Nevertheless, I have had a real hard time swallowing the way he seems to carelessly enter God’s presence and spout off the same old requests. I wonder sometimes if his heart is engaged at ALL in what is going on. (Gosh, do you suppose that his way of praying might just give God a lot more joy than my criticizing it does? Duh!)
One night when he prayed for the rain again…I rolled my eyes and sarcastically told him now would NOT be a good time for rain as the hay delivery had left 2 bales of hay out of the shed…they would be rained on and ruined and I would prefer NOT to have the hay rained on.
The next day, without a cloud in the sky, Daniel felt *badly* that he had prayed for rain. He went out there and moved the two 118-pound bales of hay…he was so convinced that God was going to bring rain that he didn’t want to be responsible in any way for ruining the hay.
I realized that my son, who is all too eager to save energy and not flex a muscle for much of anything, felt he *had* to move that hay before it got rained on…even though there was NO cloud in the sky.
Gee… This sure seems like believing faith to me. THIS is praying in faith. To him, if he prays for it, then it really might happen. In fact, it is SUCH a possibility that he *plans* for it to happen. Go figure.
Hmmmm…seems to me that I can learn something from the “vain and repetitious” prayers of a teenage autistic boy…maybe if *I* were to believe like that, some things would be different in my life.
For instance, if I prayed that God would remove the desire from me to have more food than I need, would I perhaps live expectantly…like God was really going to answer YES to this prayer? How would this affect *my* actions like praying for rain affects Daniel’s?
If I prayed that God would help me to say NO to the cookie dough in the tub in the fridge, if I believed he would actually say YES to keeping me from *wanting* it, and then I made choices based on expecting God to act…what would that look like?
Hmmm…..I think I have decided that I want to pray like Daniel. I want faith like my son. I want to pray, believing that what I have prayed for is God’s will and that it will happen. If it will happen, I better PLAN on it happening. LIVE like it will.
Wow…I have a feeling that doing this will change my life quite a bit. In fact, maybe I will pray that I will have praying faith like my Daniel has…that I will act believing that my prayers will be answered. What will it look like right now if I pray for that and then believe that God will make it happen?