A Young Boy Learns to Pray: bedtime vespers
My niece Janean (by way of my brother Gary) is such a good mother. She wrote this touching email to my father who shared it with me. Now Janean has agreed to share it with all of you. It's a fine example, I think, of moral and spiritual education...of giving structure, but also, giving space. --JGR
Hal Manogue's A.C.E. (Aware Connected Energy) TM seems like the right companion for a young boy at prayer.
At bedtime we've been saying prayers. Each night I'll ask the boys if they have prayer requests and then we work them into the prayers. A. hasn't had any. T. sometimes does or will remind me of the things we pray for each night or he'll add things while I'm praying. A few nights ago A. asked me if he could say a prayer and I said "yes". It was very nice and to the point and it was so great he wanted to do it.
Tonight, I started as I often do thanking God for the blessings in our lives. Then A. asked if he could pray and I said yes. He came over next to me and covered so much ground tonight I wish I could have taken notes or had a recording.
I knew I'd never remember each piece of his prayer but it was so amazing all the things he thought to pray for.
--He mentioned his brother's lost tooth and
--reminded God to send the tooth fairy with a quarter for his brother, and
--for his brother to get better, and
--for God not to destroy the Earth with a flood again, and
--for all the children in America to be safe on Halloween, and
--for the pumpkins not to get smashed and for Brennen and Lane not to get in trouble in his class and
--for all the children to have good behavior, and
--for asteroids not to hit the Earth and for other things in outer space, and on and on.
Every so often he would pause and say, "God" just to remind him who he was talking to. T. was tucked in bed and yawning. I kept my eyes closed tight except to peek at A. a few times and his eyes were closed and he was concentrating on his words.
He knew when he was done and said, "Amen". Then he tucked back in his bed. T. said, "A. prayed for 14 minutes." I'm not sure it was 14 but it was a long prayer - it was as if all the things he'd been saving up and thinking about came pouring out. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night.
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