I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).
Today’s prompt is: PRAY
When the kids were still at home, we had a system for designating who would say grace at dinnertime. Since Tenley had been born on an even day, she would say grace on even days and since Wayne had been born on an odd day, he would say grace on odd days. Maybe God knew what (s)He was doing by not giving us a third child — I’m not sure I could have figured out the math of finding a time for him or her to bless the food!
When my son said grace, he sounded like those announcers at the end of car advertisements on the radio. His words were said so fast it was impossible to understand them. It felt (also like the car commercials) like a technicality — getting through what he had to say in order to get to what he really wanted (food!).
It was frustrating, honestly. I would silently think “why can’t he take more time with this?” and wonder if he even cared.
What I realize, now that our house is quiet and I’m the only one praying over our food is that I was the one being critical, not God. Our prayers are not performances and they aren’t meant to be done in a prescribed way. Most of my childhood was characterized by religion-as-a-requirement. We were supposed to pray often (not that praying often is bad!) and the expectations were plentiful.
Maybe the lesson in a young boy’s quick prayer is that God didn’t need him to slow down, God just wanted to hear from him. The food was blessed, the petitions heard (even if they were SAIDATBREAKNECKSPEED), the family together and for a moment coming before a presence bigger than us.
I am thankful that God cuts us all a bigger break than we sometimes cut each other.