As it was for many parents before, teaching our sons to drive was a hair-raising endeavor—merging into traffic that felt like Han Solo pushing the Millennium Falcon into light speed; sudden braking that seemed equally certain to send me through the windshield. They were giving it a go; it was terrifying and I was so proud of them. I was delighted with their efforts. But of course, I would be more than disappointed if their driving was the same now, ten years later. So it is with God—he is utterly delighted with our attempts at prayer; he loves our little prayers tucked into drawers. And, he is calling us upward to grow into the maturity we were destined for, including mature prayers. Elijah was not tucking little prayers under rocks on the mountain. I doubt very much it would have rained if he had.
But here is the problem—most of us don’t quite share God’s fervent passion for our maturity. Really, now, if you stopped ten people at random on their way out of church next Sunday and polled them, I doubt very much that you would find one in ten who said, “Oh, my first and greatest commitment this afternoon is to mature!” Like Bilbo, our natural investments lie in other things—lunch, a nap, the game, our general comfort, including getting others to cooperate with our agenda.
Yet there is no mistaking the theme in Scripture: God is committed to growing us up:
...until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature... (Eph. 4:13)