I wonder sometimes what our conversations with God sound like from His side. Does He see our prayers as meaningful dialogue? Or do we come across as a child does to an adult?

Cohen the Goodhearted, who is rapidly approaching 3 ½ years of age, is now is at the stage where we can understand 89-96 percent of what he says. He also has the desire to express his thoughts and feelings to anyone who will listen.

When Cohen is talking to you, he gets wound up like a tornado and then unwinds, using every part of his body. Even if you can’t understand everything he says, you will be highly entertained watching him. I just listened to a 10-minute monologue about how messy his little cousin was. It included facial expressions, flailing arms, a couple of leg twitches and a wrinkled forehead.

Here are a few conversations our family has had with Cohen this past month.

Cohen and his mom who is cleaning the house

Cohen: Mom! Mom! Mom!

Mom: Yes? (not looking at Cohen)

Cohen: Did you know you can drink water from the toilet?

Mom: What?! (Turning around, she sees Cohen leaning over the toilet with his head below the rim) No!! NO!! Get your head out of the toilet!

Cohen: (Laughing loudly) Ha ha, Mom, just kidding; I don’t drink water from the toilet!

Older brother Titus: But you could if you really, really needed some water.

Mom: No, we would never really need to drink water from a toilet. Toilet water will make you sick. Ugh, gross!

Cohen: But you know Roscoe (the dog) does it all the time, and he doesn’t get sick.

Mom to herself: Never thought I would have to have a discussion on why it’s not OK to drink water from the toilet. Even in case of emergency.

Cohen and Poppy

Cohen: Poppy, guess what?

Me: What, Cohen?

Cohen:  On my next birthday, I will be 4 years old.

Me: That’s right, little buddy.

Cohen: And I will be in the third grade

Me: You are one smart kid.

Cohen: I know.

Cohen, at lunch with his mom and baby brother, River

Mom: Who would like to say the prayer today?

Cohen: I will! (Bowing his head, Cohen begins to pray) Dear Jesus, thank you for the food (A slight pause, and he continues.) And I had a good poop today. Amen. (That sounds more like one of my prayers. After all, the Bible does say in 1 Thess. 5:18a NASB, “In everything give thanks”).

Cohen with his Dad who is not paying attention

Cohen: Dad… Dad… Dad… Dad… Dad… DAD!

Dad: What?

Cohen: Sometimes I put my head in the microwave!

Dad: I believe you.

I hope you thought these were as funny as our family did. But they are only funny because we understand that Cohen speaks like a child, walks like a child and behaves like a child because he is a child. But if he grew older and still talked like this, these conversations would no longer be funny, because at that point, we would have higher expectations.

God wants his children to grow also. 1 Cor. 13:11 reminds us, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

Titus, 6, doesn’t pray like his little brother. He thinks of people he needs to pray for, and he thanks God for His provision. His prayer life has matured, and I pray that it will continue to.

As the apostle Paul was writing to the churches, he complimented them on their growth. In the second chapter of Revelation, the apostle John commended the church at Thyatira that the works they were doing today were greater than in the past (see Rev. 2:19). One of the best reflectors of your spiritual growth is the way you pray.

The early disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1b). Can I confess something? I had to ask Jesus to teach me how to pray. And through His Word, He began to lead me into a deeper understanding of prayer. I began to see a change in my prayer life. It became more God-initiated instead of me coming with a shopping list of things I thought I needed. Prayer has shifted from being an event to an ongoing, daily conversation with Jesus.

Many times as Cohen ends his prayers, he will pause for a second and then yell, “The End! Let’s eat!” Cohen, my little buddy, it’s not “The End.” Prayer is just the beginning of a living, loving relationship with Jesus—Who is always waiting to listen to you.

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