I remember that when I was about 5 years old I officially became a Christian. There wasn't anytime that I didn't believe in Jesus, but there was a specific moment when I said, "He's the one I want to be with." And there's been no serious wavering from that since then, so I've always believed that very young children can make a very serious commitment to Christ.
Even though I teach theology and am very involved in church, I've never actually been present at the moment that another person decided to become a Christian. I've had students tell me that they became a Christian while taking my class, which is wonderful, but I've never seen it happen with my own eyes. So it was particularly wonderful and amazing to have this happen to me for the first time with my own son.
Two days ago Z and I were reading his children's Bible. We've just been reading through it from the beginning, only starting a couple of weeks ago. He was very interested when we read about the Garden of Eden, and today we were reading several hard stories, like the sacrifice of Isaac (which I almost skipped), and then several stories about Jacob and Esau. But he was asking great questions and didn't want to stop reading.
Suddenly, in the middle of a story, he said, "Mama, do you know what this means?" and he bowed his head, touching his chin to his chest. I said, "No, what does it mean?" He said, "It's what you do when you pray." "Yes," I said, "we bow our heads to show Jesus that we respect and love him." He agreed and we kept reading. Then, just a few moments later he jumped up and said, "Mama, I want to tell Jesus that I love him and always want to obey him!" And he immediately stood up in the middle of the living room, bowed his head, and did exactly that. This was completely unprompted by me, and I realized that I was genuinely witnessing the miracle of a new creation. I gave him a big hug and said Jesus was so happy and loved him so much.
A little while later while I was making supper Z ran up and asked, "Can I go downstairs to pray?" I of course assured him that he could do that whenever he wanted, so down he went. And I must confess that I went into our room and turned on the baby monitor to hear what he said! And this is the prayer I heard: "Oh God, please help me to love you and trust you. Please come soon so we can see you. Please make the Garden of Eden and all the animals so we can live there. Please help me to always do what you say. In Jesus' name, Amen."
Amen and amen.