Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Simple Prayers

As parents, Scott and I are desirous to teach our children (as best as we are able) the ways of the Lord. One of those ways is by leading in example of praying whether it's before meals or at bedtime, etc. We can tell it is leaving an impact with our little ones, when at the dinner table, we'll all join hands, Scott will lead out in prayer, and Caleb will take "sissy's" hand. (It doesn't always last... as there are usually hungry outbursts that will occur because the prayer can get "too long"- in their little minds).

It's also quite precious when we catch Caleb (never with a camera, of course) in the act of praying. It's been several times where he'll be standing by the doll crib, or sitting on his little white chair up to the play table, with his head bowed, his eyes closed and you can hear his audible mumblings. We don't know what he's saying, but he's praying.

I grew up in a Christian home. And we would have these "little prayers" that my Mother would lead out with at lunch-time that were poetic - and very easy for little ones to remember. Sort of like "Now I lay me down to sleep" is, at bedtime, which everybody knows, no doubt. There is one prayer that I remember very well and it's so easy to learn. It goes like this...

"Thank you for the world so sweet. Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything. "
- Amen

There are many other little prayers, like this, that we've learned while growing up (either said or sung) and I definately want to teach this one to our little ones... but it causes me to question something. In my experience, of childhood praying, like this, it can seem a bit ritulistic, especially, over time day in and day out.

I hope I can teach my children to pray their prayers rather then to say their prayers. I can remember my Dad saying that to us as he would pass outside of our bedrooms going down the hall to his own room. "Pray your prayers, don't just say them!" and it was a great reminder to really think about what we were praying and not just what we were saying.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have memories of childhood prayer times? And, what were some of the prayers that you would say every day over lunch, or before going to bed? Feel free to comment and share them with me. I would love to hear some new ones or be reminded of some old ones that I may have forgotten about.

There is something to be said, though, for a simple prayer that can only, really, be prayed in childlike faith and sincerity. I guess, if it teaches my children to give thanks to God in everything and for all things, then sometimes praying the same thing over and over, day in and day out, while their young, will leave an impression and (Lord willing) impact them greatly towards the ways of the Lord.

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