Lessons From Tipper, Part V

IMG_1596“Teach me your way Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.” Psalm 86:11 NIV

When we first brought Tipper home, she was a small, twenty-three pound, twelve-week-old puppy. As we all do, she came with some interesting quirks. One was a fear of concrete.

We brought her home and immediately carried her to the backyard to play in the grass. While we got acquainted, we also prepared a meal on the patio.

We noted right away that she loved to stay with us, (as in directly underfoot, earning her the short-lived nickname Tipper the Tripper) but refused to place one paw on the patio.

She also avoided contact with the concrete basement floor. Initially we needed to carry her across the floor to go outside. Once, in an attempt to attend an urgent (but false) alarm, she was left standing on the other side of the concrete from her favorite person.

She whimpered and then after several moments, ran pell-mell across that foreboding floor to the safety of the plush carpet, obviously happy to have reached the comfort of the soft fibers pushing between her paws.

Why was she so afraid of concrete?

While no one in our family is a dog psychologist, we have a few theories:

It was what she knew. Before she came to us, she was born and raised on a farm. There her paws experienced the pleasant giving of the soft earth under each step. Fresh air filled her nose and cooler temperatures delighted her. Not hot asphalt that can assault the senses with the smell of tar.

She had already learned to mistrust it. At the farm, she was taught to avoid the road – the only concrete around.

Do we avoid prayer as Tipper did concrete?


If you didn’t grow up in a home where prayers were a two-way communication with a loving, heavenly Father, it can be hard to imagine that it exists, or is even safe.

When we’ve graduated from many schools of hard knocks, it can be easy to distrust anything except independence.

When we’ve been confronted with examples of prayer on several occasions, and then faced with an alarming situation, do we race through a short prayer in a desperate attempt to just make it to the other side of the scenario?

Psalm 86:11 tells us that we can call out to God and ask Him to teach of His faithfulness. We can ask for an undivided heart. A heart growing and trusting completely in Him. A heart that knows He is who He says He is.

Just as Tipper quickly learned concrete was not out to get her, regular prayer and reading of Scripture will reveal God has only His best for His beloved children.


What do I think of prayer? Why? What formed those ideas?

When I do pray, do I rush through requests and then get on with my day? Do I take time to listen?


Dear God, I want to know You, to truly learn You and learn of Your faithfulness firsthand. Please give me an undivided heart, one that is willing to trust You completely. Amen.

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