My 11-year-old son asks the best questions. He can get a conversation going in any situation. I overheard a lively discussion at the playground when he asked a group of kids, “Which is better, dogs or cats?” I won’t tell you which won, or it might cause another fight. Once on a long car drive, he asked us, “Would you rather be able to fly like a bird or swim like a fish?” The debate occupied us for a good 40 miles. And the other night at dinner he asked, “If you could ask God anything, what would you ask?” Our normally verbal family was silenced for a few moments.
What would we ask God? Isn’t asking questions what prayer is?
My son’s question gnawed to the core. Asking questions to get to know God better often isn’t what we do when we pray. If we are honest, imagining God right in front of us, flesh and bone, brings forth more questions than we ever ask in our regular prayer lives.
If we could ask God anything, what would we ask?
Our family finally began to ask questions aloud. We asked about the people we have lost. Are they with you? And, What were you like as a kid? Could you teach me that water into wine miracle? When are you coming back?
Over the next few days, my son’s question kept coming back to me. I tried to imagine God sitting in a chair in my room with me. Do you love me? I asked. Why? What do you see in me?
As I practiced this discipline, I sensed God’s presence more and more. I felt certain that God loved me and began to see myself through his eyes as a doting Father. As I sat with him, I became more certain of his ways and the truth and goodness in the world. As I sat with God, I felt strengthened to take on the tension of the world outside. I realized I wanted to ask fewer questions and just enjoy his presence.
But maybe you are like my son. Maybe you are a big question-asker, and that’s how you get to know someone. Prayer can be asking questions. David asked questions in the Psalms—over 50 of them. He asked (my paraphrases):
- Lord, why don’t you seem to be around when I need help? (10:1)
- Lord, I feel as if I am at the end of my rope. How long will I dangle like this? (6:3)
- Who are you? (24:8)
God is not afraid of questions. There is not one he hasn’t heard. He isn’t afraid or shocked by them. He welcomes them.
So, if you could ask God anything—which you can—what would you ask?