Our sweet four-year-old son has been praying for a year that Ruslan and Nastia would come to live with us and that the "paperwork would be okay" or that "the paperwork would get to Ukraine". It was during this year that his prayers turned from the kind where Mom and Dad feed him the words to say, or the kind where he says the same things in every prayer, into the thoughtful, heartfelt pleading with God to bring about the desires of his little heart. I think I could say that this little man has come to know his Heavenly Father much better during the course of this adoption as he has asked for blessings and seen them come to fruition in miraculous ways. And that would be true of all of us.
Because the blessing of having his new siblings with us has been realized, his prayerful requests have changed a little. He now prays in gratitude for the fact that Ruslan and Nastia are here and that they are "nice to us". Occasionally, he will pray "for the paperwork" and one night I found out why.
A few weeks ago, after I had listened to his nightly prayer, I was sitting on his bed talking to him when he said, "Mom, when Ruslan and Nastia go back to Ukraine..." I can't remember the rest of what he said because I was so surprised to realize that he thought they were not going to stay.
When we moms suddenly receive the understanding that our children don't see life or the world or us the way we thought they did, it is a humbling and disconcerting feeling. I asked myself what impact it would have to explain to him that they are never going away. Fortunately, four-year-olds are resilient and positive about life and this little man is so loving and so open with his love, that I didn't have to be concerned for more than a moment.
His response when I told him they were never going back? A surprised smile...and then he went on to talk about how much he loves Ruslan and Nastia.
No wonder the Savior said to become as a little child.
Now that he understands that they are going to stay, his prayers have changed yet again. Tonight, he prayed "for the paperwork to stay in Ukraine". I figure it was his attempt to ask his Father in Heaven to keep things the way they are and make sure he gets to keep two people he loves so much. It amazes me that this child is still praying so faithfully about this topic.
So, what does a year of praying produce...besides cute four-year-olds and mommy hearts that melt? I think it produces miracles. How can a God ignore the voices of His little ones?
It produces faith, even in a child this young. It produces a relationship with God, a vision of His purposes and an understanding of His ways. I think my little man has learned that his Father in Heaven is actually listening, literally cares and guides our lives according to His divine will that has our best interests at heart.
There is nothing I would want more than to have my children know their Heavenly Father intimately and desire to go to Him in prayer and pour out their hearts to Him. If a four-year-old praying for a year can produce all of that, imagine what decades of it can do.