Earlier in the year, I was helping on a weeklong course at one of the Ellel centres. There were a lot of people attending, the house was full, and as a few of us as team gathered for one of our regular prayer meetings, the leader shared with us that a problem had developed: the downstairs toilets had begun to overflow! The team had done what they could to try and resolve the issue, but a plumber was needed, and because it was the weekend, we weren’t going to be able to get one for at least a couple of days.
As we turned to prayer, the leader looked upwards and cried out one word, “Dad!” in just the way a little child would when they needed help. We all smiled, but I was inspired by that simple child-like cry.
“Dad!” spoke volumes. It said, “I’ve got a problem! And I can’t fix it! You’re Almighty God, for whom nothing is too difficult, and You’re my Father, my Dad, and You care. Your Word tells me You are a Father who has compassion on His children (Psalm 103:13) and that’s me! I trust You, Dad, that out of Your heart of love and compassion for me and for all Your children here, You will provide the answer to our problem, the solution that I don’t have.”
That one-word prayer was rooted in uncomplicated child-like trust, the kind of trust that God intended would be instilled in us all, through solid, dependable, loving, and caring, earthly fathering. Of course, no dads are perfect, but if you had a dad whose heart was for you and did his best to exhibit those qualities, it’s likely that, when you received Jesus as Lord and Saviour, developing trust in your heavenly Father followed fairly naturally. But if your dad did not receive you as a gift and fell far short of demonstrating God’s intended parenting, then trusting the Father you can’t see is probably much more difficult.
Difficult, yes, but not impossible, because God has sent His Holy Spirit to help us. For me, the walk of learning to trust Him began by literally holding up my little finger to Him. It was a symbolic act, enabled by His Spirit, that said, “I can’t trust You. It’s too scary. You might let me down. You might hurt me. But I want to trust You. Please help me.” And, because He truly is faithful, I can honestly say that, day by day, He has taught me. He has instilled an awful lot of trust in me.
But I’m still learning. Recently, I was lying awake in bed with worries going round and round in my mind. I was tired and needed to go to sleep, but I was worrying about whether I had prayed the right prayer for this person and that person, and whether I needed to pray more for this issue and that issue. Then the Holy Spirit brought to mind that one-word prayer, “Dad!”
And peace came as I remembered that our Father cares about those who are dear to us, and the people and the issues He has laid on our hearts. Of course, it is right that we use words to bring all these things to Him in prayer. But prayer isn’t about necessarily having all the right words, and it definitely isn’t about trying to fix the problems or trying to twist God’s arm to fix the problems. There is a big element that I had forgotten: the element of, having prayed, leaving it all with Him and trusting Him to bring His answers as He works in each situation, which He surely will.
No matter what stage of our journey with Him we are at, our heavenly Father is always wooing us to put our roots down deeper into the solid ground of trusting Him, which brings strength in the knowledge of His loving care and faithfulness. You might want to hold your little finger up to Him today in that symbolic act, or perhaps pray the prayer below, putting into action Peter’s encouragement, ‘Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7).
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