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Prayer Is Play

As my children and I were reading through The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—that classic children’s book by C.S. Lewis—I was struck by the description of the lion Aslan with Lucy and Susan after he comes back from his death on the stone table. He’s full of vigorous and youthful life. He invites the children to chase him and bounds about the hillside—slower here, nearly being caught; faster there, escaping their grasp. He tosses them up in the air with his enormous strength and catches them gently as in a great pile of pillows. He plays with them!

Aslan, of course, is a picture of Jesus. But I think the truth is, it’s hard for us to imagine that God would be the type to play. I think we think of God as some sort of stern Father who demands perfection and is holy and harsh with those who disobey his will. But our concentration on the holiness of God—for me at least—has often left me impoverished to imagine God being playful. But Zephaniah 3:17 says the Lord delights in us, that he rejoices over us with singing.

Do not even earthly fathers delight when their children ask that humble and straight forward question—Will you play with me? How much more does God delight to enter into play with his children? With us? With you?

Prayer, then, is inviting God into our lives with all the fullness of his playful and joyous Spirit. It’s to delight in asking God to reveal more of himself to you in hidden places, to ask him to play a game of seeing his work done in strange ways. It’s to laugh with him at your own folly and to rejoice in his delight over you.

In fact, I wonder if God has not been waiting for you to invite him to play.

Pray with me. Father, would you play with us? Please! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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