One day, while living in Budapest, I climbed the hill not far from our home. At the base of the hill sat a church building and school right next to each other. Looking out over the city, my view was dominated by commi-condos (condos build in the communist era that lack beauty as much as they seem to lack creature comfort), which deepened my dark mood. Still, I persisted in trying to pray. As I sat praying my foulness (I wish I could say my prayer ranked within the lament genre but really it was complaining), I spat out something about “this God forsaken place.” Just then, the school let out with the sound of laughter and play tumbling up the hill… and Ps. 8.2 popped into my mind.
“From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.”
Caught by the moment, all I could do was weep and ask forgiveness. I failed to see the bigger story having fallen prey to the presumption that because communism had tried to destroy all evidence of God, they had succeeded. The Lord graciously and gently reminded me that he still has the upper hand regardless of apparent evidence to the contrary.
Burning bushes (holy ground) bring us face to face with God, which is the essence of prayer. Maybe you don’t realize this, kids are burning bushes–all evidence to the contrary. Our kids, the neighbour’s kids, the brat down the street who knocks down our mailbox or terrorizes cats, are each ordained ministers of praise–burning bushes that confront us with the presence of God.
In other words, kids are iconic reminders that God is very much alive and well, intimately present even when we think he is not there and totally silent.
Next time you see a child, pause (kick off your shoes) and bask (pray) in God’s presence and pleasure. In fact, I suspect that playing with a child will enhance your prayer life as another means of living prayer… Maybe we could say it’s like dancing with the Trinity… on holy ground.