They piled in.. all five adolescent and young teenage girls from one of the children’s homes…attired in what looked like their“jammies” for a time of fellowship and dessert. We supplied a plate of brownies for all of us chocolate lovers to add to the tasty dessert already prepared for them to bring.
Their greeting and reference to us that night was not their formal Ma’am Faylene and Sir Roland. They referred to us as “Mommy Faylene” and “Daddy Roland,” expressing a longing for someone closer than Ma’am and Sir. I smiled.
The purpose for the visit was not just to get better acquainted, though we welcomed the opportunity. Their house mother had requested we explain to the girls about prayer; she sensed some knew how to pray and some didn’t. How could we keep the explanation simple and relatable to these girls we had already grown to love? We prayed.
As we finished the desserts and the small talk, Roland asked what they thought about prayer. “What is prayer?” In addition to the obvious answers, “Talking to God” and “Worship,” they discussed when they might pray: before travel (for safety), before meals (giving thanks), before bed (prayer for others, perhaps), and even sometimes before bathing (probably their most sincere personal prayer).
Roland drew a double sided arrow on the paper. CHILD <– –> GOD
“God invites us into His home, feeds us, and talks to us in a loving way…much like the way you have been treated in our home tonight.”
He spoke to them of their need to really know God, and used an excellent example of a little boy they all knew who was always in a hurry – like little boys can often be. Roland would call his name, and the boy would barely acknowledge him before he ran off to play. Other times he stopped only long enough to be thrown in the air and caught like so many of the little ones here who enjoy his attention, then again he would run off quickly.
Roland explained that “God wants us to take time with him – not just give thanks for physical food – but eat the spiritual food He provides. God wants you to know you can talk to Him, and He will have fellowship with you, as well.”
He turned to me. It was my turn. I tried to keep it together long enough to speak about the One I rely on to help me no matter the situation in my life, the One who corrects me, explains life to me, comforts me – the One I know as Daddy. I honestly spoke to them of my struggle with shyness and the help the Lord gives me when I must be with many people (nearly lost it on that one). I reminded them that they had referred to us as “Mommy” and “Daddy” when they came in — terms used in a family where you know you belong.
“If I want to talk to Roland, I wouldn’t call him Roland Kenneth Beard III, though that is his formal name. I would call him Roland or Honey or Sweetheart because I love him, and he loves me. We talk. We have fellowship. We are a family.”
We explained how God wants them to know Him as Daddy, the Daddy most of them don’t have or don’t remember, by coming to him as His child. He wants to both listen to them and to speak to them.
Then Roland gave them another example of prayer. After meeting a young lady named Apple during his trip alone before we married, God kept bringing the picture of her face back to him many times. Each time, he would pray for her without knowing exactly what to pray. One day he asked God how he should really pray for Apple, and God showed him a picture of Apple in front of a group of children. She was speaking to them with confidence, like an experienced teacher. Apple was a bit shy, so the picture showed her a bit different than she was. A couple days later and just before Roland left for the US, Apple came to see him at his request. He told her he had been praying for her and how God had shown him the picture of her talking before a group of children. When asked about what she wanted to do, she said “I want to be a teacher.” She was greatly encouraged by what he had said. The young girls all knew Apple very well, so the girls acknowledged their comprehension with their eyes and smiles.
There was a sudden knock on the door. “Come in!” We expected it would be one of the boys from across the hall to beg some dessert.
Instead, in walked…APPLE! The timing was perfect. Only God could have orchestrated the evening’s events and given affirmation to our feeble attempts to make these girls know how much He desires to have fellowship with them as Abba Father.
Thank you, Lord, for using us to reach the orphans here with a taste of your love. Thank you for the opportunity for even a few minutes to be your voice and your arms as a Mommy and Daddy.
And Jesus taught them to pray…