I pray with my boys every night - except when I'm not home (and then, my husband says, they beg for prayers - even though that's not really his "thing").
Sometimes, the prayers are brief and pointed.
Thank you for this good day. We ask for a good night's rest. Bless us.
Other times, I pray on and on, feeling the Spirit push me to continue in my praise and my petitions. I pray that my boys will be blessed with good friends, with good teachers - and that they might possess the wisdom to make good choices. I praise the beauty of day and the peacefulness of night. I thank Him for the food and the home and the love He has given us. I ask him to watch over our loved ones - both near and far. I speak their names. I pray aloud - teaching by doing.
My silent prayer is that I'm leaving a legacy. I hope my sons see that my relationship with God is real. I speak simply and sincerely - and with reverence. This is my Father, my Friend, and my Superior.
Tobey sings a prayer before every meal. He has done this faithfully for four years since learning it in preschool, and is always pleased to recite it. I am proud that he is pleased. I pray that part of the pleasure comes from the opportunity to speak on behalf of those gathered to the Provider of the meal - for I am confident, that (at least in part) some of his pleasure derives from being the center of attention. :-)
Tonight, it suddenly occurs to me to ask Tobey a question that I've often asked my sisters in Christ, "How can I pray for you?" Such a simple question - and, really a rather enlightening one.
"How can I pray for you?"
I ask the question.
Tobey considers for but a second.
"School. And my teacher."
School starts next week. New grade, new classroom, new classmates, new teacher. What a wise thing to pray over.
"And for our health."
I look at him - amazed that at 8 he would think to ask for prayer for something like health - particularly when he tends to be perfectly healthy.
"Because - you know, the swine flu?"
He says this as a question. We've read online that swine flu is predicted to cause a significant number of deaths this fall and winter - particularly in young people.
How silly of me. Of course this worries him. I rarely worry over things unless they're right in front of me. The swine flu story is no worry to me because 1) I don't presently have it, 2) No one I know presently has it, and 3) I have other things to worry over that are right in front of me! Because I don't worry unless there's a clear and present danger - I forget, sometimes, that some folks worry regardless. Tobey is one of those folks.
I ask him, "Anything else that I can pray for?"
"Well, for all my friends and all of your friends and for our family. And that's it, I guess."
And, so, I pray for him just as he's requested - with some motherly embellishment, of course.
My silent prayer is this, "Thank you, Father, for opportunities like this one - to teach and to learn. Amen."