My Kids Keep Teaching Me How to Pray

Last week, I was putting Penny to bed, and she was all wiggly. She could probably tell I was getting impatient, because she said, pointing to her forehead, “I have so much in my head. I need to pray a lot.”

I smiled at the time, but since then I’ve thought about her words more and more. When I have “so much” in my head, I tend to toss and turn in my bed. Or make lists. Or just start doing things.

This year, my only attempt at a Lenten “discipline” has come in the form of prayer. I’m using David and Jeanie Gushee’s lovely book, Yours is the Day, Lord, Yours is the Night. It’s a compilation of prayers throughout the ages, and from the whole spectrum of the Christian communion. And so far, one week in, I’m grateful for those few minutes as I wake and as I turn off the light, to remind myself of God’s presence and care in my life and in our world.

Last week we were driving, and I caught Marilee in the rear-view mirror. She had pinched her eyes shut and clasped her hands together. “Tank you God food. Tank you God Mommy Da-ee. Tank you God Peh-ee, Wiyum.”

Meanwhile, William has been puzzling through the idea that God can be within us and all around us. “Do you think God is in us? He is!” he said to Penny at the breakfast table. My back was turned, and I heard Penny reply, “I think God is all over the world!”

So Penny’s words about prayer and Marilee’s spontaneous gratitude and William’s reminder of God’s immanence were just right for this Lent, as we prepare for Easter. I could so easily forget to pray. I could so easily forget God’s presence. We move for the fourth and final time on March 4th. I’m hoping to finalize a book proposal between now and then. We all need to go to the dentist. Penny needs to see the audiologist and the physiatrist. We are starting to think about summer camps.

I have so much in my head.

I need to pray a lot.

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).

Comments

  1. Dorothy Greco says:

    Wonderful. Rich. Encouraging.

  2. Erin Pascal says:

    Your kids are very sweet. It’s so amazing that at such young ages, your children already know and recognize the presence of the Lord. You did a great job raising your kids! You are really inspiring. Thank you for this. :)

  3. Your kids teach me how to pray too, AJ. Please give them my thanks.
    Tim

  4. My son is at a stage where he thinks prayer is funny. When we finish the prayer at the end of his Bible story he says “Mommy pray” with a big ready-to-laugh smile on his face. So I say simple things like “Thank You for potatoes” and he’ll supply other words to fill in the blanks: eggs, the Wiggles, etc. I actually don’t know what he finds so funny about these prayers but it certainly adds another dimension to the experience. Thanks for sharing your kids’ prayers with us.


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