Every evening we have family scripture reading (we’re currently making our way through the Old Testament book of Jeremiah) which if followed by family prayer. This is a nightly occurrence, and the family knows the routine.
For our prayer we ask everyone to kneel down, fold their arms, close their eyes, and try to have an attitude of respect for the deity we are talking with. This is kind of the traditional thing for our church and family. It is something that is taught and expected, even from little kids, and more often than not it is achieved.
In our family we go around the room, youngest to oldest, and offer everyone the chance to add something to the prayer. But after that, everyone is quiet during the prayer except for the person offering it. There aren’t any “amens” during the prayer, or other forms of talking or outburst. The atmosphere is meant to be one of quiet respect. That is the ideal.
We did that, and I’m ready to say the prayer, because it happens to be my turn tonight.
I start out telling Father in Heaven about our day, some of the highlight events, offer gratitude for some blessings, and ask for a few more. I think I’m near the end of what I’m going to say and for some reason I open my eyes, which isn’t rare for me, just to see if all the kids are behaving themselves. And what do I find?
Andrew ( age 5) just staring at me!
We kind of just look at each other.
“Please bless that we can all stay warm and safe tonight as we sleep.”
He knows my eyes should be closed, and I know his should be too.
“Help us all be able to follow thy teachings.”
But we just keep staring at each other, because what else are we going to do?
“We are grateful for the meeting we had tonight at the church.”
Do I just keep going, or say something to him? But now I’ve forgotten what everyone has asked me to add. I’m stammering.
“Um. Uh. Thankful for Thy Son.”
Well, I sound like an idiot and can’t think of anything else to say, so here goes…
“Please bless that Andrew can learn to keep his eyes closed during prayers instead of staring at me.”
Followed immediately by Andrew’s loudly saying, “What the heck?”
“In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
And the rest of the family bursts into laughter.
What else was I supposed to do?
I’d love to hear that we aren’t the only family that has these moments of levity during otherwise “sacred” times. Tell me what you’ve got!