“I need you to watch over me.” My 5-year-old son Titus said these words to me the other night. He wanted me to lay down with him as he went to sleep. My wife usually tucked him in and would lay with him for a bit before he slept each night, but she wasn’t there and so my son asked me. What struck me was his reason given for wanting me to lay down with him. He wanted someone to watch over him. He felt a need for me to stand watch. He knew I wasn’t going to sleep, but he wanted to know I was there before he slept.

There comes a special time in all of our lives when we realize that we need God to watch over us. We have a moment of clarity when we come to know our need of our Father in Heaven. We desire to know that our God takes note of us and cares for us. In short, we ask, like my son, for God to take notice and to be there. We express to our God “I need you to watch over me.”

It should come as no surprise then that this expression of need is found in the Psalms. Psalm 33:18-22 says “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

There is hope in the fact that the eyes of the Lord are upon us. He is watching and because we are in Christ this is a comment of encouragement. When God’s eyes are on us we know that his love is also resting on us. This is a prayer of hope in our God who loves us and watches over us.

Psalm 34:15 says “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.” God has eyes for us because we are righteous in Christ. And that is not all, but he hears us as we cry to him. This verse and the others like it are verses of encouragement when we need to internalize and feel the truth that God watches over us.

The irony of growing on our faith is that we have to be childlike to mature. We have to have the childlike need expressed in the simple statement “I need you to watch over me.” When this childlike dependence is present we realize our need and reliance on our mighty God. And it is in realizing our need and relying on God that we grow in our faith and mature in our devotion to our God. This maturing devotion will result in us pursuing more and more knowledge and living more and more for God in all of our lives.

And it all starts with saying something so simple a 5-year-old could express it. I need you, God, to watch over me.