February 7, 2024

In 2024, we will strive to become more like Jesus by rediscovering the ancient practices of prayer, study, sabbath, celebration, and many more. Our knowledge of scripture, coupled with studying how Jesus lived his life while on earth, will help us become people that overflow with the goodness of God. Wednesday email devotionals will highlight the practices that have been discussed on the previous Sunday.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”


Matthew 18:1-5


Have you ever taken a child to a public playground? I am sure many of us have, whether it be with our children or our grandchildren, spent a Saturday morning at a beautiful but very crowded park. One of my favorite things to do after finally loading my kids back into the car is to ask what their favorite part of the playground was. Occasionally, I’ll get answers like “the tire swing” or “the monkey bars,” but most of the time, I get an answer that includes the name of a new best friend. Mind you, this new best friend is someone they just met for the first time and will likely never see again, so I have no idea who they are. But goodness, their joy of having met that kid and experienced a few moments together on the playground brings endless delight to their day.


I am not sure about you, but it takes extreme intentional effort for me to access that same courage and humility throughout my day. More often, I find myself echoing the words of Jesus’ disciples as they look for a shortcut and easy answer to, “How can I be the greatest?” The disciples asked how to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, but perhaps we ask how to be the greatest at work or in our relationships. Often, we look for validation of who we are through our achievements and human praise instead of asking God what he thinks of us.


One of the most beautiful and challenging invitations of the Gospel is to reconsider our approach to life. When the world offers a fast-paced, competitive marketplace lifestyle, the Gospel offers humility, peace, and joy.


Together, this month, we will take a deeper look at prayer. If I am honest, I would say that prayer takes a great deal of humility and faith. Humility allows us to kneel before the throne of God knowing we cannot do it all ourselves, knowing we yearn for a friend. Faith allows us to trust that God hears and cares deeply enough to be that friend. Faith is knowing our prayers matter and shape our lives in a profound, tangible way.


Instead of approaching prayer with the intent of being the greatest, perhaps we should approach it knowing we have a lot to learn. Perhaps we should approach God like a kid on the playground, eager to spend a few joyous moments together that are sure to delight the day ahead.

For Reflection

What would change about your prayer life if you approached prayer time as a child?


What are you doing this month to access the humility and joy of childhood in your prayer life?


Lord, we often become so busy with being “the best” that we fail to see your invitation before us. Help us find both courage and humility this month as we seek you in prayer. God, meet us there. Allow our desire to spend time with you spark a friendship that shapes our lives. God, let us feel your desire to be our friend. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.