When you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
Matthew 6:6

As a new Christian, I figured out quickly that part of the deal was to pray. To pray a lot. And to pray on your knees. I got that impression very clearly from reading the Scriptures. I also got it from reading Early Church history and Christian biography.
Hegesippus, for example, who lived immediately after the apostles, described how James, the brother of Jesus and writer of the epistle bearing his name, “was in the habit of entering alone into the temple where he was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel.” This devotion to prayer earned James the nickname “Old Camel Knees”.
I also read of John Hyde, a missionary to the Punjab region of India toward the end of the nineteenth century. Like Old Camel Knees, Hyde was so given over to prayer that he, too, developed calloused knees. His nickname? “Praying Hyde.” Taking these men as my examples, I imitated their behavior until I, too, had developed callouses on my knees.
But here’s the kicker: I took pride showing them off!
I remember traveling to Florida in the mid-1980s to visit family—in particular Mom and Dad. My older brother was living in Tampa then and he noticed something peculiar about my knees (I was wearing shorts).
Now, I must tell you that I was very self-conscious of my legs and knees growing up. Okay, it was my entire body. I was a skinny and very long drink of water who could not gain weight no matter how hard he tried. My brother, of course, knew that about me already. When he asked me “What happened to your knees?” he was referring to the callouses that were so plainly visible.
I wanted to say, “I thought you’d never ask.” Instead, like a good Pharisee, I answered him with a somewhat elevated lift of the brow, “I got these callouses from praying.” And then looking around at the rest of my family: “Praying for all of you.”
I maintained those callouses on my knees for a number of years, but over time, they receded, and today they are mostly gone. Don’t get me wrong. I never stopped believing in prayer. But nowadays, I have trouble getting down on my knees and even more trouble getting back up! Seems a lot of my praying is done on the run—or on the walk—making intercession and appeals while breathing, whispering, imagining, dreaming.

Cris on the run in Ixtapa, in a scene from Let Me Have My Son

And when I utter a very specific prayer, as I did the other night, I try not to repeat myself ad nauseum. I prefer to trust and believe that God heard me the first time I spoke.
I take my cue from children, who are clear, direct, and sincere when they pray. And remember this: Jesus said that "the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14).
May I tell you a little secret? The older I get, the more childlike I become—certainly the more childlike I want to be! True, my knees are not calloused as they once were, but I find God is still pleased to hear my prayers. Spending time with my grandchildren has reminded me afresh of how I believe God might see us when we pray.
I believe he is very pleased to see us walking by faith and speaking into the unknown, unseen world. I truly believe he enjoys holding our little hands as we pray and feeling the smoothness of our child’s skin. He gives us a hug when our prayers are ended and tucks us in with a goodnight kiss. And, by the way, that isn’t the end of it. He really has listened to our prayers and will act on them as he deems best (and when he deems best). We are not a cute distraction to him. We are his world, and he watches over us with a jealousy that you would never want to meet in a dark alley.

Coming Soon!

You may be curious about our film, Let Me Have My Son. Good news to share… We have now completed the first cut of the picture (called a “rough cut”). We will continue to refine the edit until we have “locked picture” at which point the sound design, music score, and visual effects will get underway in earnest.
I’m praying for a donor, or donors, to step forward and help cover these finishing costs.
Lord, you know who they are. Direct them our way.
Thank you and God bless you.

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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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