Our house has recently become a way station for lizards. You know, the small Anole type lizards you see scurrying around outside? Well now we have them in our house. What is more, these little green travelers are here by invitation. You see, my daughter loves catching them, but keeping them healthy and alive can be challenging. In the past, we have allowed her to catch them and keep them overnight in her little lizard habitat, but in the morning she would have to release them. I could always tell it was a little bitter-sweet for her to let them go, but it was best.
Watching her let a lizard go one night, I asked myself how I could make this bitter-sweet moment into something more. That night I sat and talked with my daughter about lizards, and just started asking questions. As she talked, it became evident that what she knew about lizards was very little, but that she wanted to know more was also evident. So, I went to my office in the house and sat at my computer. Reflecting back on my conversation I drew up a list of questions, or things we would like to know about lizards, and put them with blanks next to the questions. In effect, we came up with a "Catch & Release Report" that she could now perform whenever she caught a lizard.
With the first catch, we went through the process of measuring its length, measuring it on a gram scale, taking pictures of it, noting the time of day and outside temperature, and other factual data. There was also a couple of places just for observation and even a page where there was a blank outline of a lizard so she could color and put in details about the lizard she noted on her own.
My daughter is suddenly very excited about lizards. Before, she caught them because they were a novelty, and now that she is asking questions, her mind has opened up and she is seeing lizards in ways she had never seen them before. She is able to make comparisons in size, color, temperament, and physical details. She is learning. Why? Because she is asking.
This may not sound like such a big deal, but it is an important lesson for everyone in all walks of life, and in the Christian life as well. There is no end of learning until you stop asking questions. If you want to learn how to improve your relationship with your spouse, stop having all the answers and start asking questions. If you want to learn how to improve communication between you and a coworker or your own child, start by asking questions. It is such a small, little word, but has so much power when applied.
When you pray, stop for a moment and ask yourself: am I praying for what I want because I think I have the answers to my own problems? What if you stopped having the answers? What if you simply opened your heart and prayed along the lines of asking God for His answers to your problems? How would that change how you relate to God? How would that affect the way you live your life? Ask.