3 Steps To Childlike Maturity (Not What You Would Expect)

man walking

Here are a few questions to get the prayer engine going a bit:

  • What does it mean to grow in maturity in regards to prayer?
  • What does this maturity look like?
  • Or, How would you describe “Prayer Maturity”?

Is it:

  • Consistency?
  • Faith?
  • Length?
  • Theological insight?
  • Or….. maybe maturity is……  child – likeness?

Isn’t it interesting how we think of maturity as being a number of things that are UN- childlike?

Steve Brown in his book titled Approaching God explains that childlikenss is not a call to childishness or immaturity.  You see, there is a difference between being childish and immature and being childlike AND mature.


At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 18:1-4 ESV)

Why did Jesus say this?

He said it because the ADULTS around Him were asking Him who among them would be the greatest?  The mature adults were acting, immaturely!

Pause a moment and ask yourself:  Is my prayer life still asking that very same question? Who is the greatest?

Would I be great or am I the greatest because of my mature prayer life?  In other words….

I am great because – I have faith, consistency, theological insight, etc…..

Here is Jesus’ answer to them and us. “come as a child.”

But what does that mean?

3 Steps to childlike maturity:

1.)  Prayer is ABOUT relationship.  Prayer, when it is at its best, is rooted in relationship.  It is a relationship with the Father provided by the Son and empowered by the Spirit.  The gospel itself makes prayer and relationship possible.

  • We tend to make prayer and maturity too difficult!  It is this simple:  Jesus invites us to come to him in the simplicity of a child.  He is our Father, we are His children.  He has provided us a relationship with Himself.  Amazing!  Let’s not make it more difficult than it needs to be.


2.)  The Relationship IS:  He is our Father – we are His children.  How silly is it that we would come to Him attempting to be all put together, with an “appearance” of maturity. Or even more silly, when we come to Him with a sense of MY godliness.

How quickly we forget – he knows everything.  He is…. God and our little attempt to be all put together is…. might we say….. idiotic!?!

  • Live in the good of  the freedom we experience in the gospel  We do not have to get ourselves all put together before approaching our Father.


3.)  Freedom to be childlike:

  • FAITH:  Consider the honesty of a child.  Kids just blurt it out!  Sometimes it is not well worded!  Sometimes it is not the best time!  Blurt it out.  That is what kids do.  I think that blurting out is – faith.  Faith in mom and dad.  Because, from the perspective of a child, moms and dads are supposed to know everything, be able to solve everything, and have all the answers. So, the child does not come all put together. He comes in Faith in mom and dad.  How much more might we come to God in prayer?
  • HONESTY:  Think about it:  This blurting out by the child is actually a cloaked maturity.  You have to love the faith of a child.  I want that kind of maturity in my relationship with the Lord!
  • TRUST:  A child trusts mom/dad.  It is the default of a child until betrayed, and even then…..    That is why a child has that “innocence” about them and why we teach them – “don’t talk to strangers”.  There is so much trust in a child – so to be childlike is to walk through danger and yet…. trust in God.  (Psalms 23)  Think about this:  a child trusts, even when it hurts.
  • NOT PUT TOGETHER:  Children come – AS THEY ARE.  Imagine your child coming to you with all the wording just right.  I can’t imagine the child who does that.  Do your kids do that?? Sometimes kids blurt it out loudly…. in public!  We think we should approach God with all our nice theology and perfect wording.  Seriously…..  do we think we are impressing God?  By all means, I am not saying, let’s dumb it down!  But, sometimes people feel paralyzed and unable to pray because it is not all polished…..  I say – bag the polish nonsense and come to your Father – Like a Child!
  • Any Time Of Day:  Does a child come to his or her parents: once a day, in the morning….?  Of course not. He or she comes at all times, inconvenient times, spontaneous times.  Maturity is knowing you can come to the Father any time!

So, back to our original question.  What does it mean to grow in maturity in regards to prayer?

Come to your Father as a child.



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