The windows were open and from where Emma was sitting she could see the giant walnut tree in the backyard. So that evening as she started praying, Emma she took particular delight in thanking God for just about everything—and I do mean everything…“Thank you Jesus for today and for my family. Thank you for the pretty kitchen curtains and for the bird sitting in the tree outside, the cups on the table, and thank you for…”
At that point Olivia interrupted to inform us that Emma didn’t have her eyes closed—that she wouldn’t be able to see a bird outside if she did.Emma defensively said she really was thankful for the curtains and the bird and all the other things she’d been praying about. And that, I said was a very good thing.
The next thing I did was to remind the rest of our children that praying is about a lot more than just closing your eyes and saying the ‘right thing’. Instead, I wanted them to learn from their baby sister.I wanted them to embrace the familiarity and openness Emma felt when she prayed. I wanted them to see prayer as a way to talk with God rather than something they recite to God.
Over the years we prayed many prayers of thanks for baby lambs and good grades. We prayed for lost and dying pets, horrible school bus drivers, cross-country meets, less-than-stellar school teachers, and even good weather for trick-or-treating. And you know what? God heard and answered every single prayer with all the love and concern that makes him God.The lesson in all of this? To allow and encourage your children to make their relationship with God personal…genuine…and one in which they know that everything that matters to them matters to him—kitchen curtains and birds sitting in a tree included.