Monday, July 7, 2008

Bedtime Prayers

Usually, at bedtime, I hold a chubby hand in mine, close my eyes and hear:

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for this day. Have a good day. Thank you for Mom. I'm just going to pray for you Mom, ok? Amen."

The girls' prayers are only slightly more sophisticated, including concerns for "no bad dreams," and prayers lifted up for missionaries, family members and hurting families in our church.

But, one night, it was getting late and I suggested that the girls pray on their own. Later, they told me that they got out the children's Bible and found the Lord's prayer.

How in the world did they find the Lord's prayer? Ok, the oldest "knows" the books of the Bible and John 3:16, but I don't think she knows WHERE to find specific verses! On Sunday morning I have to help her find the passage in the index and then she can look up the chapter and verse and I seriously do NOT remember ever talking about the Lord's prayer with her. So, you tell me, how did she find it?

Well, they found the page with the Lord's prayer and Cutie Bug began to read it aloud for her little sister (who also has verses memorized, but cannot yet read). She read a line and Missy repeated it. They prayed through the prayer together, not knowing what "hallowed" meant or why to ask "lead us not into temptation."

The next night they told me they found a prayer in the Bible and prayed it together. Could we do it again? It occurred to me that "lead us not into temptation," though difficult to understand, was better than "have a good day."

Some people teach their children memorized prayers for grace or bedtime, but I've always wanted them to learn to talk to Jesus openly from their hearts. But, instead they've still said rote prayers, just the ones they made up, instead of something someone else made up. They're still learning what prayer is all about.

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. I think my children were asking Jesus to teach them how to pray as well. And He answered. He lead them to His pages of prayer education and they are learning.

Matthew 6: 9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

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6 comments:

The Olson's: said...

I do the same thing with my kids - encourage them to pray what is on their mind rather than a rote prayer. And yes, most nights it's the same prayer, but my 6yr old son is starting to grasp the conversation aspect and pray about things that really matter to him, that are on his mind. It's exciting to hear these sincere prayers coming out of their young mouths!

That is so neat that your girls found the Lord's prayer on their own. May God continue to guide their seeking hearts!
~ Leanne

Lelia Chealey said...

Love kids!!! They are just so real.
I too have always encouraged my kids to just talk with God like they're talking with a friend, which they are. So neat to hear what they send to the throne of mercy and grace. God must just look forward to bedtimes! :)
Thanks for your prayers for our girl! You are so right, He is at work & I can't wait until we can take down the construction signs cuz I'm worn out!! :) In a good way.

Melanie said...

Wow! That is special. I love how your girls searched for scripture on their own.. and look what they found!

Tiffany Stuart said...

Precious girls you have. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of bedtime prayers in a sweet new way.

Loved this.

Hope all is well with you. Think of you often.

love,
Tiffany

A Stone Gatherer said...

Wow, that is wonderful! My daughter has been reading in Matthew and she recently said "God wants us to pray like this" and then said the Lord's Prayer! My heart about burst out of my chest!

Nancy said...

Oh how God smiled at seeing your little girls reach for their Bible and read the Lord's Prayer! What a precious site. This warmed my heart to read. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings,
Nancy