I love family prayer time. Not only is it a time to come together to remember what is truly important in this life, but it is a time for us to check in with each other on where each of us are. Listening to my kids’ petitions is a fascinating glimpse into their personalities. (Not to mention, a good mental refresher of the issues, events and people at the forefront of my wife’s mind-many a time has one of Jackie’s petitions made me say, “Oh yeah, I should be praying for that more too.”)
Jude is pretty matter of fact in his petitions. They are usually the same from night to night, but every once in a while a new petition will pop up, and that shouldn’t be ignored. It shows he has really been thinking about something lately. We went through a long time of praying for an end to abortion and he prays to Gerard quite a bit.
Gus’ petitions lately have been very concerned with social justice. Where Jude is brief, Gus is verbose. He will pray for those who have no food, those with no clean water, those who don’t know God. He also offers solutions for each of these. My favorite reoccurring petition is: “For those who don’t have a home, that they will find a house that no one is living in or a rich person will give them some money so they can buy a home.”
And then there are Zelie and Xavier, proud to be included and eagerly awaiting their turn to pray to God. Often, they will repeat things Jude and Gus say. A roll call of everyone in the family is a must. It is pretty darn cute watching them try to compose their list of petitions and thanksgivings. Sometimes when they are more tired, the road from brain to mouth becomes a little jumbled. Zelie this week:
“For mom, and for dad, and for Xavey, and for me…and for Zelie…..….and for Zelie…….and for me…”
She knew there were other people on her list, but she just couldn’t get it out. Of course, by the fourth time praying for herself in a row, Jackie and I can’t hold the laughter in any longer. It doesn’t help that we sit across from each other on couches and can see each other straining to keep a straight face. Because if we laugh, that gives Jude and Gus permission to laugh as well. And if Jude and Gus are laughing, well, something must be funny, so Zelie and Xavier sure aren’t going to be left out. Once we compose ourselves:
“Ok, Zelie, let’s finish.”
(still oblivious to what caused the laughing, still tired) “…And for me.”
More laughter. Quickly collecting myself:
“Xavey who do you want to pray for?”
Zelie: “But I haven’t got to thank God yet!”
“Ok, what do you want to thank God for?”
“For my polka dot blanket and for my water bottle.”
“Very good. Xavey what do you want to pray for?”
Xavey (looking around the room mischievously, making sure his captive audience is watching, knowing full well what he is doing) For meeee.
Of course, we all lose it.
(confident of his power, an attentive student of anything that gets a laugh)“For me!”
I had to bite my cheeks to stop laughing and move us on. Of course, we don’t fall into hysterics every night. But when it happens, it is a joyful reminder that God is with us in our joys and our sorrows. Last week, Jackie was gone to Wichita for the night, and in my rush to finally. just. get the kids to bed, I had forgotten to pray for my niece during prayer time. Neither did Jude or Gus or Zelie. But Xavey, who had obviously been paying attention to all the prayers that had been offered in the weeks beforehand, whispered in that adorable two year old voice: “For Gwacie, and her so-joo-wee. For a mee-wa-cull. And for Aunt Patty. And for Uncle Paul. Amen.”
God is good.
Family Culture Plan Dec. 1-7
Tuesday-Xavier’s name day party! S’mores!
Wednesday- horse rides
Thursday- build Lego forts
Friday-St. Nicholas’ feast day! Making popcorn balls
Saturday- load up firewood