Journeying through these Lenten days reminds us daily of prayer. We can become more mindful of the ways we pray, the times of day we pray, the habits we’ve created along the way. Our two boys have been great teachers for me of prayer.
When Brogan was a toddler we had our evening ritual. We’d sing a couple quiet songs. Then we would share prayers (Now I lay me, 23rd Psalm, The Lord’s Prayer) and then we would sing Taps (carry over from my Girl Scout days, I guess). When Brogan was 3, Sam was born and he was welcomed right on in to our evening prayers.
Our prayers shifted about the time Bro was 5 and Sam 2. They were beginning to have lives of their own and I was nosey. (There I said it). It was one of those times when the growing up of children is fine for the kids and hard on the grown-ups. Somewhere during that time we added saying our “best thing and hardest thing” of the day to the songs and prayers and Taps.
This as much as anything else became my window into their lives. At the end of the day each of us chose one thing that was our best thing and next vented (just a bit) about our hardest thing. One night must have been particularly hard for one of the boys and therefore tender for me, because we needed something after the hardest thing ~ so the Hopeful Thing was added. This was then added to our nightly ritual.
Is it true that the things we teach our children are the things we are continuing to learn about ourselves? If so, these prayers have grown to be very comforting companions: Best things. Hardest things. Hopeful things. Each day holds at least one and often more than one. Praying these prayers each night reminds me to pay attention to all of the day, not just the good or the bad. Praying these prayers each night remind that God is listening for them, as I listened for the boys’ prayers at the end of the day.
This I believe to be true. It’s part of my “hopeful thing” prayer most every night.
Prayer: Mother/Father God your presence in our lives is our daily gift. Teach us this day to pray. Weave our lives into yours and renew our spirits, so that we might be better followers. And we are ever grateful. Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.