Communication is the most important ingredient in relationships. How do you help a baby communicate? They really don’t know how to communicate verbally. Babies, or infants only communicate what they need through crying and satisfaction through sleeping or slowly how to smile. Verbal communication is difficult for infants, because every word has to be learned. The same is true for communication with spiritual infants. They don’t know how to communicate with God and really do not know how to communicate with other Christians, until they learn spiritual truths and spiritual living.
The most important communication to learn is communication with God. That is called prayer. Many people are fearful of public prayer and that can be because they are spiritual infants, but it can also be because they do not know what prayer is, or the “how” or “why” of prayer. The “how of prayer” will be dealt with under spiritual child and the “why of prayer” will be dealt with under the spiritual young adult level. What is prayer?
Prayer is talking with God. It is the simple communication of God’s child to the God of the universe who loves His child so much He sent His only Son to die on the cross, so that He could have a relationship with His child. Prayer gives an opportunity to request God’s intervention in our lives. Paul wrote, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15 NKJ) The word, “abba” refers to a term of endearment of a child to his daddy. God the Father loves his child so much the spiritual infant (and even spiritual parent), can approach the Father in a tender “daddy” relationship, as long as there is complete humility and reverence in the child. A spiritual infant needs to learn about the Father and how to cry out, but it begins by a simple crying out for help. The child will learn as Jesus taught,
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matt. 7:7-8 NKJ)
Why do babies get what they cry for and many children do not? Babies cry out for their needs and children begin having wants and desires far beyond their needs. Children have often not been trained to realize the difference between what their needs and wants are.
The spiritual infant needs to know that all God’s children can go to the Father. David wrote, “O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.” (Ps. 65:2 NKJ) Infants learn they can go to God, but also that God listens and responds to those who reverence Him. David wrote, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.” (Ps. 34:15 NKJ) David also wrote, “He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” (Ps. 145:19 NKJ)
In fact, God delights to hear the prayers of the spiritual infant and all God’s upright people. Solomon wrote, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.” (Pro. 15:8 NKJ) Infants have little discernment to choose against God, so God delights in their prayers. Spiritual infants may have a significant history of sin and rejection of God because of their age, but God does not hold the spiritual infant to the same standard of knowledge or discernment that He would a spiritual parent. God delights in our prayers just as He seeks those who worship Him.
The spiritual infant can learn that he does not need to know how to pray. No one can pray in the divine language, so the Holy Spirit translates all of our prayers for the sake of the Godhead. Paul wrote, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for uswith groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom. 8:26 NKJ) That should relieve anyone from trying to speak to God in a certain way. All people need the Holy Spirit to “groan” in intercession.
Finally, a spiritual infant can just talk and not worry about saying a prayer in a certain way. Some people and churches have written prayers and people think you have to use the exact wording of the prayer. Paul wrote,
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7 NKJ)
God does not want His children to worry about life. He certainly does not want them to worry about how to approach Him at His throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) in prayer.
Prayer is talking to God like talking to a friend. Yet He is holy and awesome in every way, so He should not be treated like a peer in any way. He desires that His children talk to Him and depend on Him for every need. These are just a few things that a spiritual infant needs to know about prayer. Come alongside spiritual infants and help them pray with you.
Bryan, Enjoyed your take on praying for infant christians. Strongly agree and see the necessity of spiritual trues and the connection with spiritual living in the first paragraph. Seems there is a lot of desired instantaneous holiness by christians today without the knowledge and relationship of a deep walk with the Lord. Usually can cause a lot of infant dealings in the church which drains the life from those mature who are trying to lead the infant into a deeper walk. Unhealth relationships and unnecessary competition can be a result of neglecting seeking the Lord in prayer on a daily basis. Someone who may be a christian for a number of years and has never developed a healthy prayer life; but due to pride, pretend to be mature due to the longevity thing, need to be honest and face the truth of their walk. I personally am concerned for infant and immature christians who have never developed the deeper walk with Christ thru prayer. So my question is: How do I/we help these folks desire to become mature in their prayer life? Or is my concern and question out of order? THX Don Andry
Yes, we need to come alongside and take the pressure off by assurance and just say, let’s talk to God about that and give them something they could say. Build their confidence and they will start gaining a desire to talk to the Lord with others.