Talking to heroes

Helping children learn about God's care


Is there a basketball player or a movie star you really admire? Someone you would give just about anything to be able to meet in person? I had a chance in my work recently to talk to an astronaut I've admired for years, Captain James Lovell. He orbited the moon in the Apollo 8 spacecraft with Frank Borman and William Anders in 1968. He also flew on two Gemini missions and commanded the Apollo 13 mission.

It was really exciting. Afterward, I told all my friends about it. I didn't stop thinking about it for days.

Then one day I wondered, "Why am I so excited about talking to an astronaut? After all, I talk to God every day!" That's what prayer is all about - talking and listening to God. Some people may not think it's very exciting talking to God. But maybe it should be. For one thing, the good qualities we admire in an athlete or celebrity actually come from God.

I know that what I find exciting about astronauts is the way they go beyond limitations. The teamwork and ingenuity that find new ways to go higher and farther. The courage and confidence to rise to incredible new adventures.

All the good qualities we admire come from God. And that means you and I actually have those qualities, too. Even if we never become famous or fly to the moon, we can be a good teammate or try something new even when it's a little scary. We can make music, write, paint, or dance. These are hero qualities we all have. And we can discover more of them when we talk to God in prayer.

The Bible says that we are all children of God. Jesus sometimes referred to God as Father, and in other places the Bible talks about God comforting and caring for us like a mother (see Isa. 66:13). God gives us everything good that we need. Sometimes we can just say thank you to God for something good in our lives. Other times, when we feel we need something, we have to listen as well as talk.

When I need to figure out what to do, or when I'm feeling sad or frightened, I ask God for an answer. Then I listen. I try to quiet the thoughts about being worried or impatient. Sometimes I sit calmly; other times I keep doing what I'm doing. If I wait quietly, sooner or later an answer comes. We might think answers like this are something we come up with ourselves, but they aren't. They're gifts from God. If you think about it, you can probably remember times when you came up with a great idea or answer yourself. That's a gift to you from God. So remember to say thanks.

Talking to God has a few other advantages over talking with athletes or rock stars. While we might admire people for their great ability, we can sometimes be disappointed by some of their other behavior. That's why it's important to recognize that it is really the good qualities everyone has from God that we admire.

The best part of all about prayer is that you can always talk to God. While it can be great to meet one of your heroes, it doesn't happen very often. But God is with every one of us all the time. He is with you right now, ready to talk and listen.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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