Chris and I have a bedtime ritual with both of our girls, and it involves prayer. With Lily, one of us reads a book to her and then says a prayer out loud before we put her in her crib. She has even started saying "amen" at the end.
With Ann Catherine, Chris and I crawl in bed with her and after we read a book, we each say something we are thankful for. We started this a while ago and I love it. I wanted to make Ann Catherine aware of all the things she has to be thankful for. I love seeing what she comes up with each night.
After that, we sing "God our Father" (they sing this song at daycare and my girls love it) and then Ann Catherine prays out loud. Here is how last night's prayer went:
"Dear Jesus, thank you for Mommy, Daddy and Lily,
Thank you that my little sister is feeling better,
Thank you for letting me go to my Mimi and Poppy's house today,
Thank you for all of the babies in the NICU,
Thank you for the whole world. Amen."
(I admit, the last line made the laugh. That kind of covers everything, doesn't it?)
When she finished I told Ann Catherine, "Baby, Jesus loves your prayers. You want to know why? You don't ask for a thing. You just thank him."
After I tucked her in, I started thinking about this. My prayers are often peppered with, 'please help me with this,' 'please give us this,' and 'please allow this to happen.' Yes, I thank Him for things, but how much of my prayer is spent just thanking him for his blessings?
My three-year-old gets this. She doesn't ask for a single thing. And sometimes it amazes me the things she thanks him for (like going to a friend's house to play). It's the little things. We've heard that phrase all of our lives, but it's so true. And our children get it. Why can't we?
I'm trying to pray more like my daughter. I want my prayers to contain more 'thank yous' and fewer 'please do this for us' requests. Isn't it amazing that we have to learn such a lesson from our children?