How A 7-Year-Old Taught Me About Prayer

How A 7-Year-Old Taught Me About Prayer

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4
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Earlier this week, I saw that my mom had posted a new photo on Facebook. It was a picture of a project that my little sister, who is 7 years old and a first grader, had worked on in school. Her teacher must have asked her class to write a “Lenten promise,” or something that they would add to their spiritual life during Lent (and hopefully beyond).

I was so moved when I read my little sister’s response.

She said, “My Lenten promise is to pray extra because I can talk to Jesus more often. I want to do this because he might have something to tell me.”

It took me a long time until I was able to understand prayer in this amazingly humble and deep way, yet my 7-year-old sister knew it without even being aware of how powerful her realization was.

So often, we look at prayer as a process of us talking to God and telling Him what we want or need. It’s true that this is a form of prayer, but praying can also be so much simpler. Prayer sometimes is most powerful when it involves us simply being silent, and allowing God to speak to us.

As many things as we think we have to tell Jesus, He has so much more to tell us. We don’t know how we are going to make it through tough times, we don’t know who is going to be with us throughout those tough times, and we don’t have any idea what the future holds. But, He does. He’s probably not going to tell us exactly what we want to know, but He will tell us what we need to hear. Often times, all we need to hear is a simple “I love you” or “I’m here with you.” We want to hear “Things will get better,” “Trust in Me,” or “I’ll help you through this.” He is telling us all of these things, and so much more, every day of our lives, but we often forget to listen.

Jesus knows the desires of our hearts and what will make us truly joyful and at peace, and He is longing to guide us along the way we should go. He has so much to tell us, so many good things and so many loving words. He wants us to have conversations with Him during our prayers, asking for His help, thanking Him, telling Him what we need or want, and listening to what He may want to tell us. Jesus often speaks very loudly, if only we have the courage to listen.

My little sister probably doesn’t even realize the wisdom of the words she wrote for her Lenten promise assignment yet, but the truth and power held in them are so important. As often as we turn to God and ask Him for His help, we must also allow ourselves to be still.


“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Cover Image Credit: tumblr

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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Calling People Hateful Is Not A Productive Dialogue

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

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The political climate is rough. I don't enjoy commenting on it because of how controversial it has become. Every once in a while, however, I come across something that rubs me the wrong way.

As I was walking through campus the other day, chalked on the side of a cement wall was a phrase claiming the College Republican club on campus was a hate group. I don't know anything about the person who wrote this statement or anything about the College Republican group on campus, but I do know one thing: this statement is false.

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

Just because someone has a different opinion from you doesn't mean they are hateful. There is room for disagreement.

A psychology professor of mine once said something that impacted my perspective toward both political parties: "Both sides think they're right, but both sides can't be right." Both sides make decisions based on what they think is right. A person's opinion is not "wrong" if it differs from yours. It's just different.

It's important to recognize that people won't always agree with you, and that's okay. That doesn't give you the right to call them mean or hateful. It allows an entrance into discussion. Besides, if you want to persuade someone that your belief is more accurate, name calling won't get you anywhere. It will only cause the other person to view you as inconsiderate and unwilling to understand.

How can you convince someone to believe you when you won't listen to their perspective? How can you expect people to listen to you when you won't do the same in return? Not only is it important to recognize a person's beliefs, it's important to understand why they believe what they do.

In order for people to engage in productive dialogue, both sides need to listen to each other and respect each other. Tossing labels around progresses nowhere and doesn't benefit anyone.

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