Livin' on a (Child's) Prayer | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Livin' on a (Child's) Prayer

Joel and I certainly have many shortcomings as parents, but one thing we have (so far) done successfully is teach our children how to pray.

When Bria was tiny, we started having her say her own prayer after we said family prayer each night before bed.  She's now 9 years old, and she and the other girls still do this in the family setting.  So, basically, either Joel or I will say the family prayer, and then the kids each say their own prayer.  I don't know how much longer this will last, but for now, I really love it.

I love learning about my children in this manner.  If I didn't already know Bria was a germophobe, I would definitely know it from her prayers.  I have also learned just how much she desires to make the right choices, and that she is listening to me, even when I'm sure she isn't.  I have seen (heard) Chloe's generous nature through her prayers.  I know how much Sophia loves each member of her family because of the way she prays.

Of course, doing our prayers in this manner has also made for some pretty funny times.  Each of our children has gone through a speed-prayer phase, a prayer-refusal phase, a silly-prayer phase and an unintelligible-prayer phase, among others.  Then they start recycling the phases and we just have to continue teaching them what is appropriate prayer etiquette and what isn't.

Chloe has recently gone through a longest-prayer-ever phase.  Every night her prayers were running over ten minutes, and for a six year old, that's a pretty amazing accomplishment, as I'm sure you realize.  She managed to be thankful for just about everything in the world, my favorite being each family member's individual talents:  "I'm thankful for Daddy's talent for conducting orchestras, and Mommy's singing opera talent, and for Bria's violin talent and my drawing and piano talents and Sophia's talent for drawing, too...."  She would then invoke every pertinent blessing upon our family that she could possibly think of.

One night in particular, during one of Chloe's epic prayers, a very important football game (basketball?  I don't remember now) was about to start and her prayer just kept going and going and going.  I opened my eyes just in time to see Joel, my husband who would never, ever do something irreverent during a prayer, opening his laptop so he wouldn't miss the beginning of the game!  Bria caught him, too, and promptly closed it.  When Chloe finally said Amen, and it was time for Joel to say the family prayer, he pulled the shortest-prayer-ever trick that the kids usually use.  When he finished he announced that Chloe's prayer had covered anything he needed to say and got down to the business of watching the game.

Lately, Sophia's prayers have been melting my heart.  It doesn't matter if I am in a bad mood at the end of the day, I can't help but smile when I hear her pray.  Just the other night it was precisely like that--I'd had a hard day and couldn't wait until the children were safely in bed, when Sophia said her prayer.  I don't remember everything she said, but at one point she said with such excitement and with such great authority in her  adorable little three-year-old voice, "And Jesus LOVE us!" that it completely melted my heart and sweetened my sour mood.

Indeed, there is nothing like the prayer of one of my children to save me from my own bad attitude.

And when it comes right down to it, those prayers save my life.

18 comments :

  1. I LOVE my children's prayers.. and you're right. They do teach us a lot about what they are thinking!

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  2. Aww! Very sweet and a nice thing to hear at night from your kids. It actually sort of makes me wish we said more than just a set prayer at bedtime at night. I'll ask them to add their own silent prayer if someone's sick or something, but we usually just say the one together. As it is with a high schooler though, I'm probably lucky to get that much. :-) I would have had to start a lot younger probably.

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  3. YOu are so right. There really is nothing sweeter than a child's prayer. Maybe a Cadbury Egg.

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  4. I love kids' prayers. My niece used to pray to be protected from "monstows wif teef wike knives".

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  5. I love little kid's prayers! Especially when they go on long tangents that you can't begin to understand:)

    That's fun that you can see into your kid's personalities with their prayers.

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  6. Huh, maybe we should re-instate that, we've been having the boys doe their prayers on their own in their room.
    I doubt it gets done.
    You are one smart mamma...

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  7. So true! You learn alot about a person by their prayers..... When my son came home from his mission his prayers were vastly different than when he went.

    My youngest son, in his 4th year of seminary has prayers I never thought would come out of his mouth.

    We get the chance at dinner, that's when we do our family prayer.

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  8. Sometimes I get frustrated trying to teach my son to pray. He will sometimes be wonderful, but sometimes he is down right impossible and refuses to sit still or say anything. Other times it is magical. You have given me hope. Thank you!

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  9. LOL just love the innocence. Nothing like it. My grandchildren always pray for my husband and me at the dinner table....and there is usually 3 prayers for dinner. The food is tripply blessed LOL. On one occasion one 3 year old child reminded my son (their daddy) before leaving for the 4 hours trip back to Salt Lake to not forget to pray for the road. Road prayers are always very important to do before driving a long distance....I just love prayers....

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  10. Zoie's in the prayer snitching stage. You know, where she peeks during the prayer and then narks on Jonas for having his eyes open during the prayer.

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  11. I have actually seen some of my children get the idea of prayer more than others. The other night I had to get stitches ... not anything terrible, just a quick fix. Anyhow, my daughter said a quickie kind of a prayer and after she was done, my boy chided her for not praying for my injured hand!!! It was so sweet - their prayers are wonderful and I LOVE your little girl's plea for Jesus to love us - how wonderful - I just might pray that myself!

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  12. I love this post!! Elodie's prayers are very consistent- in fact I could repeat word for word what she says everytime she prays! I love it though when she thinks of something new and we see that she is learning!
    Addysen is starting to understand too and if we can just keep her quiet during the prayer that is an accomplishment! When she does want to pray, She just repeats the last word of what we say for her prayers "Heavenly Father, Day, Food, Family, Amen!"

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  13. What a lovely post. You are so right that a child's prayers can snap us right out of a bad mood:)

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  14. Love this post!

    A child's prayer has saved me many, many times.

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  15. YEAY for you! I love the "longest prayer ever stage." Ellie chooses to do it at dinner time when everyone is STARVING!!!

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  16. This just warms me through and through.

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