Two Magic Words

When our children object to our command or ask us a question, we try to answer them with reason. But if it’s followed by stubborn objections or endless questions, we teach our children to say two magic words that end a long conversation and settle the issue for everybody: “Yes Mama!” or “Yes Papa!”

Most kids grow up hearing the word “No!” more than the word “Yes!”. “No, don’t touch,” “No, don’t play over there,” “No, don’t yell.” Is it any wonder when we hear back from our children the defiant “No!”?

Of course there is a healthy and appropriate use of “No” but we have made it a point to develop in Alexis a habit of saying “Yes, Mama” and “Yes, Papa”. How?

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A 3 Year Old on How to Approach to God

The next morning after returning from China, I was woken up by Alexis bouncing in her playpen, trying to get my attention with these words, “I love you, Papa. I promise I’ll be quiet and I won’t touch anything. Can I come out of the playpen?” She repeated these 3 statements a few times before I finally awoke with a smile on my face.

Right there in a little child’s mouth was the formula to approaching God: praise, promise, and petition.

First she praised, “I love you, Papa.”
Second she promised, “I’ll be quiet and I won’t touch anything.”
Third she made her petition, “Can I come out of the playpen?”

What was I to do? I was powerless to deny such a request. I got up out of bed, walked across the room and picked her up out of the playpen. Then we snuggled and played in bed.

We should approach God the same way as a child.

First, we ought to praise Him, “I love You, Lord.”
Second, we can make appropriate vows, not to manipulate or bargain with God, but to show our seriousness and sincerity, “I’ll follow You. I’ll obey You to the best of my ability.”
Third, we present our request to Him in the form of a faith prayer.

When I first became Christian, I promised God, “I’ll serve You and tell people about You, but it would be pointless if I got the whole world saved but my own family went to hell. I will preach the Gospel to other people’s family members, You take care of my family members.” I made a vow and then made a request. Within 12 months, all my immediate family members got saved in Australia, America and Africa.

Christians may not know the power of vows. They are not the same as bargaining with God. They spring from a heart that understands what the Father wants. When Alexis said to me, “I promise to be quiet,” she understood what we wanted in the morning: a bit of peace.

Our little girl was successful because she not only knew what we wanted, but she also knew what she wanted. Too many Christians don’t know what God wants of them and aren’t sure what exactly they want themselves. Saying “whatever God wants” will not get you out of the playpen. Going up higher with God requires a better understanding of both God and your needs. The secret of successful prayer is first praise, then promise, then petition.

How to Solve the World’s Problems by a 3 Year Old.

We usually don’t allow our 3 year old daughter to watch TV. We believe the bombardment of constantly changing images in the early years of brain formation shortens the attention span of children and also creates in them an expectation to be entertained all the time. Then it becomes a leap of faith for them to sit quietly to read, study, and solve problems when they grow up. Anyway, this was one of those times when she was watching TV inadvertently because I had the news on.

She saw a violent scene on TV, a car on fire because of street rioting. She said, “Fire! Look Papa!” I told her, “That’s not nice fire, bad people did that.” Her reply? Classic.

She said, “They should say sorry otherwise they will cry. I thought, “That’s right, they should say sorry, otherwise people will cry.” She added 2 more tips to save the world, “We should pray and give them Emprizone (which is a brand of aloe gel we use on her skin).”

I thought, “Why that’s right! We should pray and also we should go put some healing gel on people’s wounds.” It was a plan that contained both spiritual and practical solutions. She had summarized a brilliant plan to solve the suffering of humanity at the age of 3:

1) everybody say sorry,
2) do something helpful spiritually – pray,
3) do something helpful naturally – put lotion on hurting people’s wounds!

Jesus would have approved her plan. He gave similar recommendation in the story of the Good Samaritan, who did what the priest and Levite wouldn’t do. He cared for a wounded stranger by pouring on some oil and wine (representing Jesus’ saving blood and the healing anointing of the Holy Spirit), then he took the wounded to an inn and paid for his costs (representing the church and provision for all ministry necessary to make this person healthy again). Jesus said spiritual people should pray and do something practical for other people.

Alexis understood this principle as a child. She is already acting like a wonderful Samaritan.