My other granddaughter is three and a half. Her vocabulary is developed to the point where she can communicate just about anything she wishes. Most of her communication is in the form of questions, in that she takes after her father. Most answers you may give her are immediately followed with a clarifying question, “Why?”
In Mark 10:13 - 15 and Luke 18:17, Jesus tells us that we have to receive the Kingdom as a child. In Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6, we find that Jesus addressed the Father as Abba and the reality that we have the Spirit sent into our hearts so that we are to call the Father Abba, or Daddy.
It may be that we are over complicating this prayer thing a bit. My granddaughters do not spend a great deal of time or language when they request things of me. They do not choose their words carefully, they just ask either verbally or non-verbally – I did not mention my one year old grandson, he has just begun to walk, he is much too busy to bother talking, he just grunts and expects a response. Not only that, all three of them expect a response, and pretty much right then. There is joy and expectation in their approach. They are coming to someone they love and are confident – that is too lame a term – the notion that I do not love them has not in any way presented itself in their thinking. They just come excited to engage.
So when I read the passages above and I observe my grand-kids, I am rebuked. I do not go to the Father with expectant joy. I do not run into His presence smiling asking Him to play. I work in the realm of prayer lists and wondering if I have labored enough in prayer. I know that there is a labor in prayer. But is that what it is supposed to be all of the time?
I think I am learning from my grand-kids that I need to approach my Father as they do me, with joyful expectation, coming with a smile, knowing I am accepted, knowing I am loved, knowing I am safe, and knowing He will play.