It is when I am rinsing the dish water and suds from crusty dishes right on down the drain that he walks in and wants to talk about prayer. My seven-year-old pulls me close and speaks out his simple, yet profound witness, “I talked to God for a long time and didn’t hear him answer me back . . . but I know he hears me.” I sit with him a moment and let the statement wash my busy mind clean. He continues, “I’m starting to see how he answers me . . . I see his answers in deeds, not words.” What followed was the explanation of a phrase he has been learning in Latin class, “res non verba”—deeds, not words . . . and how it has made him think long about his prayers to God. “I prayed since I was little to have a baby brother, and here I am, seven years old, and God knew it was time.”
My son was testifying like a Psalmist and saying with certainty that “truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer” (Ps 66:19). This seven-year-old is growing in stature, but also vitally in the understanding of prayer. He is beginning to comprehend how a “Not yet” or “In my time” is part of God’s fatherly provision, and that, ultimately, God’s will and way will be “seen” in the fullness of time. He talked about his experience with a strong confidence (1 Jn 5:14)—even though it entailed a waiting season that spanned the course of more than half of his (seven-year) life. I sit on the old kitchen stool and am renewed by his witness. His little-in-stature, but deep-in-truth, poignant sense of beloved-ness (Ps 116:1) washes over my mama-fatigue, bringing a shimmer of the kingdom-truth.
I don’t know what your heart aches for, what needs you have, or what suffering weighs you down, but I do know this, God hears you. Cry out confidently and trust the heavens that you are his beloved. He is a good, good Father . . . let your prayers draw you into loving and being loved as you wait upon him for his ultimate, kingdom purposes to be realized in your heart—in this life and for eternity.
This is so beautiful. Out of the mouths of babes!