Right around Christmas time I began teaching Parker how to say his bedtime prayers. I know that there are several pre-existing written prayers that I can probably teach him, but since I was raised Catholic, the only prayers I ever really knew were the ones you recite. I had a very hard time when I grew up learning how and feeling comfortable about just praying. So, I'm choosing to "teach" Parker about prayer without the use of those types of prayers (not that there's anything wrong with them).
The very first time we prayed, I asked him what he wanted to pray about and his response was, "Candy". So, that night, we prayed about candy. And by we, I mean I prayed out loud while he listened. I showed Parker how to put his hands together and when I was finished praying I told him to say, "Amen!". The next night I asked him what he wanted to pray about and his response was, "Candy". So, yet again, I prayed about candy! After a few nights, I suggested that we pray for something other than candy. He thought this over and said, " Candy Canes". That night, rather than praying about candy in general, I thanked God for candy canes.
About a week later one of my best friends was able to adopt her foster daughter (Hopefully a blog post about this will come soon!)! That night I suggested to Parker that we pray for her and her mom. That was the first time we prayed for actual people. After that, it was game on! I would ask Parker who or what he wanted to pray for and he would say someones name. He has pretty much quit praying about things, which is fine. I try to make this more about what Parker wants to pray for. His prayer list typically includes: Parker, mommy, daddy, Shady, Grams, Braxton, Shannon, Randy, Misty, or Tori.
After Parker tells me who or what he wants to pray for, we will put our hands together and I pray out loud for those people or things. When I am finished I say, "Amen!" and then Parker says, "Amen!"
A few nights ago, after he told me who he wanted to pray for, I said, "OK, Parker, you can pray. I will let you say it." This is what Parker's first out-loud prayer was:
"Thank you for this day, God. Bless Parker, Shady, Daddy, Parker, Mommy, Shady, Parker, and Daddy. Amen!"
It pretty much melted my heart.
Last night I asked him what he wanted to pray about and I got the usual response. After he told me he wanted to pray for mommy, daddy, and Parker, I said, "OK, you do it." This is the second out-loud prayer Parker said:
"Thank you God for Mickey Mouse, (as soon as he said this, I'm pretty sure I snorted with laughter because it was so unexpected), Jesus, hair brushes, comb (at this point I am shaking with laughter and covering my mouth so he doesn't hear me and stop), Shady, and the Grammys (can you guess what we had just been watching?). Amen!" I quickly composed myself and said, "Good job Parker! God loves to hear you pray!"
It absolutely topped the charts of the cutest thing I have ever heard him say and I can't wait to hear what he prays about tonight! Has any one published a book about adorable things children say while praying? Hmmm....