Kids are wonderful for their insights, which sometime causes us adults, to take another look at what we say or believe. Often I have observed that their insights stem from some misunderstanding, such as singing the song: “Up from the grave he arose,” substituting the word “gravy”.
I enjoyed the insight from the following story from one father. “When my daughter said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, “And all girls.” This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, “Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?” Her response, “Because everybody always finishes their prayers by saying ‘All Men’!”
To a child I can understand where the misunderstanding might arise. Perhaps “Amen” might sound like “all men” to her, as if only a certain segment of our society can be saved. Paul in writing to Timothy recommends prayer for their leaders so that peace would be sustained. The reason he gives for this is found in 1 Timothy 2:4, where Paul writes, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. (KJV) Just in case you are wondering the Greek word Paul uses is ‘anthropos’, meaning ‘human beings’ or ‘mankind’.
Sometimes we have the tendency to focus on people “just like us” to share the Good News with. In a way that is understandable, it is human nature to gravitate to people with which you have a common bond or something in common. However God doesn’t give us that luxury of picking and choosing folks “we like” for salvation.
Paul deals with this very problem in 2 Corinthians 5:14-16, where he writes, “… Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So, we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!”(NLT)
So, ending a prayer, “all men,” or “all girls,” may not be strictly according to the pattern we have learned, but “Amen” (let it be so) anyway.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is the Director of World Christian Literature Outreach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.