And yesterday, 23rd February 2010, she prayed with me the prayer to become a Christian. I felt this day couldn't pass, this moment couldn't move on without looking at the prayer that this wonderful four year old prayed, and seeing what impact the same prayer could have on your life.
It was the afternoon and we were watching Aladdin on DVD, after her full day in the nursery she's been attending this term. I don't think the DVD had anything to do with what she was about to say, but very much like Mia, and quite randomly it may seem, she suddenly started saying to me that she didn't want to be old, she didn't want to grow old, and then she didn't want to go to hospital. "When you're old you go to hospital...and you die. I don't want to die daddy," she said as I listened to what she was opening up to me.
I needed to respond. Pausing the DVD, I explained how she didn't need to think such things, but still she was saying the same thing. "I don't want to get old and die."
I then said how for me, I knew Jesus was in control. I knew Jesus promised life beyond death...how in heaven he was at that moment preparing a place for me, to welcome me home. I explained that I had no fear of death...had nothing to worry about.
I said that she might get to the age when she felt she wanted to know Jesus was doing that for her as well, that she could pray to Jesus and invite him into her heart.
She then said "I don't know how to pray that daddy, could you pray it for me?"
I sat down in front of her and got her to repeat each little bit after me, so that she was praying the same prayer herself, which went something like this;
"Dear Jesus. I know you are God. I know you came to this world for me, to take away my punishment. I know that you died on the cross and rose again, for me. I know that you are making a place, preparing a place for me in heaven right now. I know that I do not need to fear death, or growing old. I know that you have great plans for me.
Jesus, I invite you into my heart now. I want to follow you. I want to worship you every day (she said the every day bit in Russian!) Jesus, I want to become a Christian, to become a follower of you. I love you and know that with you inside me I never have to fear again. Amen".
And that was that. With that little prayer, repeated with a huge smile on her face that seemed to grow the further in we got, she had passed from death to life, from this earthly world to being seated in the heavenly world. She was now being rejoiced over in heaven by all the heavenly hosts!
Of course, for her this is the starting point, or better still, a clear moment in her life from which she can continue to learn, as she already has been since birth, about more and more of the love of God in her life. And it was after praying, almost as an after thought, that I remembered I was about her exact age when I first prayed that same prayer, asking Jesus to become my personal Lord and Saviour. And in me, from that moment, I knew I was saved. 100%, totally certain.
In my young years, which clearly hadn't been 'too' sinful (we are all sinners of course), my life was changed from being rooted in the world (which only leads to death) to being rooted in God, which leads only to life! I know I've grown more and more from that point onwards. Because it's not that you have to know all things (who in the world actually does know all things anyway!) before you can make such a decision. It's just the same childlike faith that Jesus openly encouraged in the Bible.
So I'm joining with the angels praising God over the life of this little 4 year old who has prayed the prayer of salvation.
Yes, she has more to learn, has many more questions, and that's what we are there for, to help her, to point her to the answers. But praise God that she has welcomed Jesus into her heart....Lord, fill her heart, help her become the worshiper she wants and desires to become. Be with her in mighty power that she may see you doing amazing things in her life.
And if this is what a 4 year old can understand, then it's certainly something you can pray as well. Is it that you also fear death? Do you worry about growing old? Do you wonder what awaits you? Do you want to know that there is life after death, and if there is life, don't you want to meet the person responsible for it?
Maybe it's peace you need? Peace in a situation you find yourself in at the moment? Fear over a loved one?
Jesus really is your answer as well. You too can pray the prayer highlighted in red above. You too can pass from death into life, knowing that the angels are rejoicing over you while Jesus is preparing a place for you. It really is that simple. It's certainly simple enough that a 4 year old can get it....so what about you?