No Genie in a Bottle · 1 February 2008

I know that God is not a genie in a bottle ready to grant every wish. But I also know that God does answer prayers. I have seen the answers in my life. I do not always get the answer that I want when I want it but I always get an answer. That God answers all our prayers is biblical and it has been true in my life. And that is probably why I cringe a bit when my kids pray about the weather.

We have all heard of childlike faith. That simple faith that comes from just being born. My wife has said that children have such great faith because they knew God before they really knew us. They were breathed into life by God when we conceived them. Or maybe even before that. And so they have a simple faith that comes from first-hand knowledge and experience of God, the Creator. They know He can do anything because they experienced Him when they were created.

Still, knowing that youngsters have childlike faith and seeing it firsthand are not quite the same. I have heard my kids pray for sunshine or rain or snow and have seen their prayers answered. Not in a few weeks or a few days but almost immediately. The kids prayed for heat and sunshine a couple summers ago when the Puget Sound area was sunnier and hotter for longer than I can ever remember. And when a stretch of clouds and rain hit one July, they prayed for sun and the sun appeared again. Now, I am not saying that my kids are to blame for the weather but I really try to keep them from praying about it too much. I would rather they just gave thanks for their blessings and asked for publication contracts for their dad. And quit bothering God about the weather.

As the children grow older, they still have their faith. They remember that God answers prayers but they sometimes pray for ridiculous things that they know God will not say “yes” to. And yet, they do not become jaded because they get a “no” answer. They will have known all along that they did not really want the ridiculous to happen and that God would say “no” and yet they just could not hold back when praying. I am not worried about their faith continuing to grow. I just worry about what it is they are requesting from God. But I am glad that every year they hold onto their childlike faith.

I am glad that my children pray with that innocent childlike faith knowing that God will answer them one way or the other. Even though they sometimes treat God like a genie in a bottle when they know he is not. Still, the other night, I cringed when they asked for two feet of snow in our town. I do not doubt that their prayers will be answered. I just hope that we do not get it all at once.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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