We have a lot going on right now in our family and have a lot of decisions to make (It seems like we always do – is that ever gonna stop?). It’s one of those times in adult life when I have the sudden urge to call my parents and ask them to tell me what to do.
Just the other day I was sitting down for a quickly prepared lunch with our little girl and despite her reaching eagerly for the bread I tried to get her to settle down and fold her hands so I could say a prayer to bless the food. I kept it short and skipped through the words to try to finish before her patience would run out and the silence would end. And it made me wonder why I was doing it and if it really was worth it. Would she understand? Even if I thought prayer was important couldn’t I just wait and teach her when she was big enough to understand why?
I pondered that for a few days. The most obvious reason I guessed was that toddlers pick up on everything and learn from example. In just the last couple of weeks, mine has picked up on new words, brushing her hair out and for some reason she always knows when to wave goodbye even before we do or ask her to. All because she pays attention to everything we do! So obviously, if I want for prayer to be a part of her life, now is probably a good time to show her how to.
But I arrived at another conclusion as well – a maybe less obvious one. And it has to do with the reason that I pray myself. I’m sure there may be plenty of reasonable reasons why one should not pray. But one of my main reasons for kneeling down is the feeling that immediately fills the room when I do. Peace. ‘Peace’ is such a short and easily overlooked word. Let’s just take a minute and really think about what it means – especially in an everyday setting with things to do in every direction. A pleasant warm feeling that pushes out worry and stress. That one feeling that we all go our entire lives searching to keep with us.
And in that atmosphere I can shut the world out for a moment and focus on myself. What I’m grateful for and what I really need help with.
I love the person I become when I pray. I become humble and submissive. It becomes easier for me to forget my faults and my pride. And more than anything the things I think I need but maybe really don’t. It makes me feel kinder and full of love. It makes me want to keep praying. To pray for help so I can keep being that person when I open my eyes, stand up and get back to my day. To have that feeling of peace stay with me.
And to share that feeling with my family. My daughter.
If I can teach her anything in life it will be where to turn for peace.
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It does not change God – it changes me. – CS Lewis