By Dennis Ensor
17 Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
Luke 18:17 (MSG)
It’s been four decades since I heard George’s moving prayer. It came about in the early seventies when I was a counselor for the high school boys at Camp Blue Haven, near Las Vegas, New Mexico.
George was an orphan, a scraggly little fourteen year old. His crackling voice was vacillating between that of a boy and a man. His skinny frame was usually covered with a white T-shirt, slightly baggy jeans (cinched up tight with a decorative belt) and round-toed pull-on work boots. And he always had on a thin, short-haired calico vest. He was so proud of that splotchy little vest. His freckled face and scruffy looking hair sort of gave him that mischievous look of a Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.
But George was not mischievous at all. His sweet spirit was endearing. And it was because of the innocence of this sweet spirit that his prayer was so captivating. I had asked each of the boys to lead us in prayer at various times, but no prayer ever touched me as much as the one that came from George’s heart that day.
I don’t even remember what he said, but remember vividly the power it had over me. It was so pure and innocent—unassuming. He wasn’t spouting off some memorized phrases and words. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone in any way. He was just talking to God like he would have talked to a close friend during a few serious, thoughtful moments.
I remember thinking at the time about how “out of the mouth of babes” this boy was ministering to me. Here I was, having grown up with so many blessings, two wonderful parents and four awesome siblings—a charmed life in so many ways—and this young boy, whose life had been filled with difficulties, was blessing me abundantly by his presence and his spirit. I shall never forget it.
We sing a song that occasionally brings me back to George’s prayer. It’s called, “Create in Me a Clean Heart.” I love that song and the yearning for righteousness it reveals. It has the effect of drawing me closer to God and to the desire of having that clean, pure, childlike heart so vividly displayed by my little friend, George. What a blessing it would be to have that childlike spirit.
So I pray, “Thank you, Lord, for bringing young George into my life and for using him to show me so vividly what you meant about having the heart of a child. Please help me to have that same heart as I make my way down this road of life, and help me to be a blessing to others as he has been to me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”