“And how are the girls?” I asked my mom one day when we were over at her house.
“Oh,” her face fell, “Little Gabi has a fever and hasn’t been sleeping well.” Mom turned to my toddler, always curious about her cousins and reiterated, “Gabi has a boo-boo.”
Carissa had just turned two and wasn’t stringing words together yet, but she repeated, “Gabi… Boo-boo.”
Mom nodded and said, “Yes, that’s right. We need to pray that God will heal Gabi and make her feel better.”
“Yeah,” my daughter repeated gravely, and continued eating her graham cracker. Within seconds the conversation moved on, and we were laughing at Carissa’s antics.
A few hours later, as I was putting her down for a nap, we sat down to pray as we usually do. I asked Carissa what we should pray for, and was expecting the usual list of friends, family, and pets. But my little girl surprised me.
Brows furrowed, she answered, “Gabi. Boo-boo.”
And I just about melted.
Truth be told, I had forgotten about that prayer request earlier, and though I said I would pray, it completely fell off my radar. How many times does that happen in a week? I run into a friend at church and she shares a hard situation in her life, and I promise her I’ll pray. A friend posts an urgent prayer request on Facebook, and I comment that I’ll pray. I see something on the news that catches my attention, and I make a mental note to pray.
But in the rush of life, I forget. I have the best of intentions, but unless I pray right then and there, it usually doesn’t happen.
Which is why I was so humbled by my two-year-old.
We folded our hands and bowed our heads, and Carissa repeated after me: “God…please…help…Gabi…boo-boo.”
Later that night, the same scene repeated. Carissa was genuinely concerned about her cousin, and even in her limited vocabulary, she wanted to make sure that we prayed for her. The same thing happened the next day, and the next, and the next.
Within 48 hours, Carissa had taught me more about prayer than I had learned in dozens of sermons. It’s not our intention to pray that matters, but our actual faithfulness in bringing those requests to the Father, simple though our prayers may be.
Prayer really isn’t that difficult. It’s so simple that even a toddler can understand. The problem is that we get so preoccupied with other things in life, that we forget the most simplest thing: we are called to take everything to the Lord in prayer.
Because of my daughter, I’ve been writing prayer requests in this prayer calendar as soon as I hear of them. This way, they don’t get lost in the jumble of to do’s and groceries, and I have a list to look back on and see how God has faithfully answered our prayers.
Happily, we Skyped with my sister-in-law and her girls a week later, and Carissa was thrilled to find out that Gabi was feeling better.
But even now, somewhere in the list of grandmas and grandpas and playmates and dogs, Carissa will pray for Gabi and other boo-boos she may have. And I pray she keeps her prayer warrior heart.