My nineteen month old has recently started playing a game with me while we are in the car. It’s a bit of a call and response that he kicks off.
And so on. Driving home this evening, I think this back and forth went on for five minutes straight (followed by me singing the Furman Fight Song the rest of the way home). Honestly, it borders on tiresome but Jim’s sheer enthusiasm keeps me going.
As I pulled into the garage, I thought about the fact that Jesus prayed to God as Abba, an affectionate term for father. Then I thought about my son’s delight in saying “Dada” (this doesn’t necessarily reflect anything awesome about me; he says “mama,” “dog,” and “poop” with the same amount of enthusiasm) and the way that his excitement increases each time I say his name back to him.
In a way, I wish that is how I prayed. Not so much in the back and forth name calling. But to call out to God like a child calls out to a beloved parent and the sheer delight in knowing that God listens and loves as an infinitely better parent than I.
I often see prayer as a chore or a spiritual discipline in which I could do a lot better. It’s a duty. I wish this weren’t so.
I want to talk to God like Jim talks to me. And I want to believe that conversation delights God just like (actually more so than) my car ride conversations with Jim delight me.