My sons enjoy praying at night. At least, they like to draw out their adult interaction just a few more minutes, and what parent can turn away the cry of “please pray with me!” More water, tomorrow morning. Additional books, you have plenty in your room. Complaints about one brother doing something to the other, a resounding “work it out and get back to bed!” But praying: well, that’s the “get out of sleep free” card, and they cash that in every night.
I often wonder if any of it sinks in. My oldest is a creature of routine and following-by-example. When he was younger, I thought he was creatively broken: I’d give him legos, and he’d look at me blankly. It was only once my father sat down with him and a lego kit with instructions did we realize he.follows.instructions. Gasp. So with his prayers, he says the same thing often: prayers for healing of owies, thanks for a good day and playing on the playground, and and requests for “more screen time tomorrow”. Ah, the heaviness of being six.
My middle child likes to hear himself talk – he so rarely gets an open forum. He often directs the pre-prayer discussion. “Mama, you ask who have a good day. Me or Judah go first? Okay, you ask who had hard time. Me or Judah?” And often his responses don’t correlate to anything I’ve asked. Last night he thanked God for getting to go to school and play on the playground: it’s been a week since he’s been at school. I ask for praises: for his owies. I ask for prayer requests: he talks about the kids his brother plays with on the bus.
At the end of our corporate prayer time each of the boys prays their own prayer. Judah repeats word-for-word what he stated before. Abel keeps the prayer going – never a moment of silence. “Thank you for this day and thank you for school and thank you for this day and thank you for recess and thank you for this day and for my owies go away and thank you for this day and thank you I get to go to school and thank you for this day ….”
All I want, of course, is thankyouforthisdayamen. Loveyoumama, sweetdreams, goodnight, GOTOSLEEP. 🙂 But as I sighed, leaning against the wall, waiting for the thanks to end, I realized: I don’t want the thanks to end. Annoying and inspiring all at the same time: to draw out the day giving thanks over … and over … and over. Of course I have my own thanks for the day – coming to a close – while I sit on the couch, next to my husband, watching tv on the computer, knitting or reading a magazine. Like I do almost every night. To each his own, I guess.