Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Father, Son and Holy Toast

My parents never prayed at dinner. They barely sat around a dinner table when I was growing up. But we did pray at night or at least me and dad did. That's where I learned the one prayer I knew as a child: the Lord's Prayer aka The Our Father. We would kneel down beside my bed every night and recite it before I climbed in.

My husband's family isn't big into prayer either. But they sit around a dinner table which is one of my husband's fond childhood memories. My husband is not really religious and has a dislike for what he deems "public prayer" so we don't pray together. He prefers something separate.

I want to make it a family thing for our son to have prayer. It's one of my fond childhood memories. I figure that once our son eats a real dinner with us instead of eating off of me I'll start the meal time prayer. And when he's old enough to kneel and sort of understand what's going on we can begin with some simple bed time prayers. I think the Our Father is a little over a young child's head. We can do the simple Trinity prayer or the Glory Be. It's also easy enough to learn in ASL.

So how have you shared prayer with your child at home? Did you start praying with your child from birth? Or did you prayer over then and waited to pray with them when they were older?

3 comments:

  1. I try to do it nightly. Don't always manage... I'm bad about it really. But I started when she was an infant, about the time we transitioned to crib (2 months). Would stand over her and pray outloud... just the normal ones I grew up with doing at night (Our Father, Hail Mary, and personal one..) plus added the Guardian Angel prayer because it seemed fitting for a baby. As she's gotten older she's gotten more and more interested in them. She'll repeat the formal ones if I go slow and loves to cross herself. Of course there's some nights I'll go to pray with her and she flips and tells me no she doesn't want too :-/

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  2. We pray every night before bedtime and we pray before we eat. I'm trying to remember to pray before Brennan goes to school each day, too. I think it is a very important thing also to teach my child to pray in front of others. Chad and I have a fear of doing so, so therefore I want my children to be able to do it in front of others and with others. Chad and I took a class that put emphasis on teaching your child to pray. Three points that the child needs to learn when praying: Always confess our sins and ask for forgiveness and ask for help in doing better with the wrong things we have done. Pray for others. And give him thanksgiving and praise for any and all blessings, including dieing upon the cross for our sins. I also think it's important that our children hear us pray, too so we can set an example. We also make it known that prayer time is not a time to be silly or rushed. It's a time to be respectful to God and to take it seriously.

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  3. Pretty cool. When I moved to the desert (yes, you could say that I unintentionally followed Jesus), I learned a ton about different types of prayer.

    There's meditative which is what I describe as opening a door up to Jesus and having him walk in, sit down, and talk to me. It's my preferred method. I find that I talk too much and would rather be still and listen.

    Reciting prayers is good for children like learning nursery rhymes, but at some point they have to learn how to pray prayers that aren't memorized. And that is where the ACTS come in.

    Adoration-praising God

    Confession-of sin

    Thanksgiving-gratitude for God

    Supplication- intercession or asking for something or praying for someone

    It's what you describe. And it's a great way to teach an older child how to pray. I'm not sure that it's good for an infant at this point besides maybe modeling it. But we'll see. It depends on how patient he is and how much spoken out-loud prayer his father can tolerate.

    Side note: Hubby's explanation for it is Matthew 6:5 "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
    Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

    He feels too much open prayer is just that: pride, vanity, and showing off. That's why he doesn't like it even at home, but maybe that will change. Prayers for that.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!