Touching the heart of God with child-like sincerity
Can you remember the first time you talked to God? I think I was 7 years old. My mother had tried one more time to work out her relationship with my father, but was unsuccessful. She loaded herself and her three young children, ages five (it was my brother’s 5th birthday), seven (me), and my sister (nine), on a bus, probably the Trailways or Greyhound in those days, and left some very cold weather in Detroit, Michigan for sunny Florida. The trip took three days, although I remember very little.
That summer, we began to attend church with my grandmother and became involved in the children’s group. Miss Bivens, the “old maid” of the church was our leader. She was beautiful to me, different from all the other adults–joyful and confident–and she sang like a bird! Miss Bivens would tell us stories about how God answered her prayers. One night, while driving to a meeting in the pouring rain, Miss Bivens, with her hands painting a picture while she told us the story, said, “The rain drops were coming down so hard that I couldn’t see to drive safely. I didn’t know what to do. If I stopped I would be late for my meeting. So, (she chuckled as she threw her head back) I just asked God to make a way in the windshield so I could see. Just then, a round circle opened up in the rain, right in front of me, and I could see clearly to keep driving. God is so good!”
No doubt all of our eyes were wide opened as we watched and listened while Miss Bivens told us her story. I wanted to know that God! But, even with her stories about answered prayer, Miss Bivens didn’t really have to say anything to make me want to get to know why she was so happy all the time. She loved the children, and we knew it. She loved God, and wasn’t afraid to say so. And, she seemed to know him too, like he was her best friend; you know…her besty!
I said my first prayer not long after that. “God, I want a Daddy.” The next year, Momma started seeing a man who took us places, bought us ice-cream cones, and laughed a lot. Oh, he wasn’t churched (that came many years later), but he was a potential Daddy. Not long afterwards they were married. I asked mom what we should call him. “What do you want to call him?” she asked. I quickly replied, “Daddy!” and from that day on Bob was my Daddy, the best answered prayer God ever gave me. Daddy did, later in life, become a Christian, as we all did at our appointed times, yet throughout his life it was his character that showed me what being a father really means; God showed me himself through this man…my Daddy.
That’s why I created the, Anna’s Friends Love to Pray: My Personal Prayer Journal, for Children. Diaries were popular when I was growing up. Those pages were my reprieve, my prayers, my friends. It’s never too early to begin to help children develop their personal relationship with God.