Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A child's prayer

When I picture Thanksgiving and think about all that I'm thankful for, prayer immediately comes to mind.  Much like a Norman Rockwell painting, I can visualize snapshots of families gathered at the table, hands locked together, heads bowed in prayer.  My favorite photo memory is of Noah with his cousins sitting at the kid's table in my Grandmother's utility room.

There normally isn't enough space at her dining room table to hold everyone at Thanksgiving so the kids were often set up in other rooms of the house.  Usually she places them in the living room on TV trays but one year a small card table was set in the laundry room.  Thinking back to the kids' size and ages at that time, I would assume it was because small kids, food, and carpet don't make a wise mixture.  The kids loved it though, as through the wooden swinging doors they had their own private dining area.

Even though we ate in different rooms, everyone would gather around Grandma's table for the prayer.  I peeked my head above the swinging doors to round up the children only to find they started without us.  My heart is still warmed today by that image.  Tiny hands in a circle, sweet little heads bowed, as Noah led them in a Thanksgiving prayer.  At that stage of his life, he was praying at length for things individually..."thank you God for our spoons, and forks, and cups...." so it lasted long enough for me to sneak Grandma and the rest of the family over for a peek as well.  It was such a touching way for us to begin our meal.

Children come to us on the breath of Heaven and I believe that they are often closest to God.  To listen to a child's prayer is maybe one of the most precious conversations our ears will hear.  I'm grateful for all the past prayers I've heard from my children and of the praying heart Noah still shares. 

Neither of my boys ever hesitated in leading us in prayer and never seemed to struggle for the words to say.  With both of them it flowed from their lips like a fountain of thanksgiving.  I notice now when we pray as a family, whether at home or in the pew at church, Noah needs to encircle us with a hugging embrace.  He works to ensure that both of our hands are filled with a loving hold until we are a twisted family pretzel.  It's as if he's presenting us to God as a unified group, interconnected in love and faith.


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