Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sometimes prayers are just words.

Today was date day Wednesday with my husband.  We entertain each other while the kids are at school on Wednesdays and we're both off work.  Saves on childcare costs and keeps us out of trouble.   Sometimes we see movies, sometimes we take walks, ... and food is usually involved each time.  Today we saw the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock.  And in one line of the movie she says, "I've never prayed...  No one ever taught me how."

And I thought about how many people never pray, have never prayed, and/or don't want to or know how to pray.  And I know some people pray with more of a recited prayer specific to a situation.  And I've read some absolutely beautiful ones.  But I grew up Baptist.  And we just pray as it comes.  Free style.  Improv.  Usually thanking God for things and asking him for others.  But really, unscripted.   

I'm trying to teach my kids to pray, by just doing it with them.... and I'm still learning it myself.  Hoping this will be as much a part of their routine as is any other. But I hope they'll want to do it.  That it will serve a purpose and a place in their lives.  Far beyond the dinner and bedtime prayers. 

For me it comes and goes. And, telling the truth - sometimes a prayer is just a bunch of words.  The end of a long day when I just want the kids to go to bed and everyone get to sleep.  

But I've felt the power of a prayer truly and fully prayed.  I've prayed with and over my boys,  and I've cried with a heart of joy to be given such a privilege.  

I've prayed hurtful, begging prayers to make IT - something, whatever - go away.  To calm the storm that has thrown me from my safe boat.  

I've prayed to be better, more secure and confident.  For peace and forgiveness.  I've prayed thankfully and joyfully...... and selfishly.  

And I know without a doubt that when I forget to pray or choose not to, all hell's gonna break loose sooner or later. 

I recently read a Southern Living magazine article about the tradition of prayer being passed from generation to generation.  Specifically, in this article, they discussed the Thanksgiving meal prayer.  About how so many of us have learned the same words and phrases, the same technique of praying.  "We thank you God for these, your many blessings....."  

And then there's the standard kid mealtime prayers.  We had 3 different ones going at our dinner table growing up.  And we each took turns.  Or we didn't eat.  I remember my sister's old standard, "Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat.  Thank you God for birds that sing,... thank you God for everything."  But I don't even remember my words. Maybe because they were just words. 

Maybe it's an age thing... or a mom thing... but now I enjoy thinking of the words to be spoken in prayer.  And hearing that when I truly have a prayerful heart - or a heartfelt prayer - that the words don't seem to come from me at all.  But from a voice that I can't claim as my own.  

Tomorrow...or soon... I'll share a real prayer I recently said with my boys.  (I said it and then quick wrote it down so I wouldn't forget.)


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