I woke early this morning to my son saying, “Daddy!” It was early for me, but his mother had already been up with him for an hour and a half and she had sent him to me—pulling a toy caterpillar by a string—shouting my name every few steps. I looked at the clock before I rolled over in the bed and looked at him. I had a thought of simply acting like I was asleep. I thought for a moment that maybe he won’t realize that I am actually here if I lay real still.
But the next thought was quick and almost fierce. “No!” I thought, “He is your son, and he is calling for you. Whenever he calls for you, answer him.” There was no debate in that thought, no equivocation about how I need more sleep or how I already know by the sound what he is pulling. It was a thought from deep inside of me that said, when your son calls, you answer.
So I rolled over and smiled and grabbed the little arms that were reaching for me and pulled him up onto the bed for a hug. I tickled him a bit and he rolled away, back down off of the bed and back out of the room, dragging the caterpillar with him as he went.
It was a good moment.
And now I keep thinking about that feeling I had, about how when my son calls my name I should answer him. You see, I know me. I am a deep lover of sleep and most of my life revolves around me and my own needs. I am one of the most selfish people I know and I don’t like for other people to intrude in what I am doing. But when my son called I answered.
Then I think about how if messed up me knows to answer when his son calls, how much more will God answer when I call on him. I have been struggling with this whole concept of prayer and connection with God lately, trying to wrestle out the truths and come up with the teachable points. But God broke through in this small moment with my son and reminded me that it isn’t about formulas. It isn’t about doing the right things or being penitent enough that God listens to you. He is my father, and when I call he responds. Plain and simple.
When I call His name, God turns gives me His full attention. That is the essence of prayer, and the greatest miracle God has ever done.