Every night before bed, I lean down and put my face very close to Mabel’s face, and I pray with her. I listen to her sweet breath go in and out while I talk to Jesus. I do not repeat the same prayer twice, but I try to make sure to cover many of the usual things we want our children to be grateful for. So on this night I said our prayer into her sweaty curls and then sent her down to get into bed. Shortly after, I went down for the official “tucking in” process of fluffing her quilt and lighting her unicorn Dreamlight and pulling her afghans up for snuggling. After tucking her and kissing and hugging her little arms, I told her good night and started to walk out. She said with her polite voice, “Um, Mama? I have something to ask you quick. Even though that we already did prayer, can we pray again?”
“Do you have something to pray?” I asked her. She nodded.
She cleared her throat and clasped her hands beneath her tiny chin. “Dear Lohhhrd,” she began - so cutely my heart stopped for a sec. “Thank you for this day. Thank you for all of our blessings. Thank you for the delicious food we had for dinner and for keeping us healthy and safe.” She peeked open her eyeballs to see if I was still bowing with her, eeked out a baby grin at me as she was very proud of herself, and kept on. “Please help all of us to be better tomorrow than we were today. Please help me to get a sticker tomorrow at school, and also be good on the bus and at home with the boys. Help me to listen and make good choices. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins so we can see you in Heaven one day. Amen.”
As I listened in the dark to my baby daughter who is not a baby anymore at all, I marveled at how she owned her prayers that night. For whatever habit, we start prayers with ‘Dear Jesus’ most of the time. On this night, she started her own prayer to her Lord instead. SHE did that. SHE made that choice out of reverence for her King! She, at 7, is beginning to know what the Trinity is all about. Praise God!
After she amen-ed, I had to lean over and hug on her again. “You have the best prayers,” I said. “You keep praying whenever you feel moved to do it. God loves to hear from you.”
“And you give the best hugs,” she said, and squeezed my neck tight.