Garrett’s bedtime prayer:
“Dear Jesus, thank you for the day. Thank you for Christmas & for decorating the Christmas tree. Thank you for Mommy & Daddy making some dinner. Thank you for our family & friends. Please help us to stay in our beds & bless this food for our bodies & have a great day tomorrow. Amen.”
Garrett has become the official “pray-er” in the house. He loves saying prayers before meals & at bedtime. This is a bit ironic because when Garrett was about two years old, he would scream whenever we prayed. He would yell, “No, stop it!” What can I say? The boy really wanted to eat his dinner. Though there were some “terrible-two” days, when I would have told you it must be demon possession…
I’ve been reflecting on my prayer life recently. I know I’ve said this before, but I am ever in awe at the amount of things I learn from my kids. And here I was thinking Adam & I were supposed to do all the teaching! I love Garrett’s prayer & what it models.
- I love that overall, Garrett’s prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving.
I’ve noticed that the first thing Garrett does when he prays, is say “thank you.” I tend to default to “God, please help me/God, please guide me/God, please show me.” So, praying “thank you” first, is something I have to be intentional about.
- I love how conversational Garrett’s prayer is.
I used to think my prayers needed to be very proper. One problem with that was I became so focused on my words & religious “verbage” that I wasn’t very personal with God. I couldn’t completely open my heart to Him because I was too stuck in my head! I’m much more relaxed now. I am still respectful in my prayers & humbled by my God, but I find that I pray more freely when I don’t focus on sounding so formal.
- I love that Garrett’s thankful for the everyday things. And while it may be simple sounding to me, it’s a big deal to him.
Take Christmas, for example. Garrett loved decorating the Christmas tree this year. Loved it! He was in awe of all the ornaments & lights & would tell me how beautiful & magical is was. I’m amazed at how the older I get, the more I have a tendency to complicate things or overanalyze them. Why do I think it is that it’s okay for a four-year-old to still be thanking God for something he did two months ago, yet silly, for me, as an adult, to do the same? I get just as excited as Garrett when we put up our tree. So many of our ornaments have a little story that goes along with them & those memories are so sweet. I have ornaments the kids made, ornaments from when Adam & I were dating & then married, some from the year I was born…I could go on & on. I particularly love our family ornaments. It’s cool watching us go from a family of two to a family of five! But, honestly, I think I stopped thanking God for decorating the Christmas tree the moment the last ornament was hung.
My friend Tristi posted something she was thankful for every day for an entire month. I so looked forward to reading her prayers of thanksgiving everyday! I learned a lot that month. One thing that really jumped out at me was how much I take the little things for granted. When I look around I am amazed at the gifts I’ve been given: my husband, our children, our home, our families, our church, health, clothes, school, two reliable vehicles, our jobs, heat, a washer & dryer. Even our fireplace & the ability to roast marshmellows to make smores in the middle of winter from the comfort of our family room. Really, the list is huge! I need to be more diligent in thanking God for everyday moments.
There is one more reflection I want to share. One of the biggest things I’ve learned about my prayer life recently is I tend to turn to God when something may be taken from me as opposed to when something is given. Take our refrigerator for example. Amazing how I never thanked God for the fact that we have one, but oh my word, I was so quick to ask for help in finding a new one. Once I realized what we might lose (in this case, perishable items), my prayers came instantly.
Along the same line, I find that I’m quick to go to my knees in times of desperation, but not in times of thanksgiving. I’ll pray fervently for help, or for an intercession, but often times my “thank yous” are tossed in like asides. Unfortunately, I remember to thank God for what He gives me when I’m faced with the possibility of losing it. So, I need to remember to thank God for all He has given, and not let my thanks be determined by my circumstances.
So there you have it. That’s a lot for a little guy to teach his mommy! Garrett, I look forward to the day when I can show you this post & you can understand how much your prayer did for me.
Thank you God for children who teach me. Thank you for continually working on my heart. Thank you for keeping it soft & pliable so I’m open to instruction, change & areas where I need to grow & not hardened against it. And thank you for another year of decorating our Christmas tree.
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