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Friday, September 3, 2010

Should Bedtime Prayers Be Serious?

PALMDALE, CA - JULY 27:  The Big Dipper constellation shines over the California Aqueduct, which carries water hundreds of miles from northern California to the state's southern cities, in the desert on July 27, 2005 east of Palmdale, California. California's demand for water will jump by 40 percent over the next 25 years according to a study released this week by the Public Policy Institute of California. Half of all the water used by inland homeowners, where growth is booming, goes to irrigating yards, compared to one third or less in the cooler coastal regions.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

My favorite time of day is bedtime prayers.  I love to spend time with my kids, talk about our days, and hear their thoughts and concerns.

The only problem?

We can’t seem to get serious.  And it’s getting worse.

On a school night, we try to head to bed by 8:30 p.m.  I always start with Anna and Abby, since they usually sleep together.  We read a few books, and by about 8:50 p.m. it’s time to say prayers.

I start off praying and try to be spiritual.  But Abby is known to interrupt me.

“Dear God, I pray that Anna’s breath won’t smell.”

My girls start laughing hysterically.  Nick hears them, and he comes in to join us.  I yell at everyone and say,

“We’re talking to God.  This is important!  Let’s get serious!”

Abby gets defensive and exclaims, “It’s Anna’s fault.  She was touching my armpits!”

They start laughing hysterically again.  Nick is laughing so hard that I think he’s going to pee his pants, and I think to myself, When am I ever going to get these kids to sleep!

Usually, when I’m almost ready to give up, I can count on Anna to wrap us up with some substance.
“God, please heal Grandpap.  Help Haiti and Chile to feel better.  Help everyone in the world to find food and water and all the children to find moms and dads.  And wash away the sin from our hearts.”

At least someone has been paying attention.
Some nights, I feel like just letting them laugh.  I wonder if God enjoys their laughter.  Does He expect them to be serious when they pray?  Should I?


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Oh yeah, He likes their laughter. I'm with you on this one. I like goofy. Some of my best moments with my mom were when me & my sisters were goofy.

I'll be curious what conclusions you come to on this b/c I know I'm still trying to figure it out.
~ Wendy

Mommycrat said...

What a great post. It's funny, I no longer consider myself strongly religious (I went to church every Sunday until my mid twenties, but then stopped), but I clearly remember doing bedtime prayers with my dad.

I don't really remember what we prayed about - except of course the few "rote" ones he taught me (ie: Now I lay me down to sleep....) but I remember the time we spent together. So I think for me, that's the most important part of the whole experience.

And also, while I don't do it often, when I do still pray - it's generally right before going to bed.

Esther said...

Why do bedtime prayers have to be serious? Praying is talking to God; it's great your kids are learning to talk to God no matter what mood they're in!

mrsgleffter said...

Some of the best times with my kids are prayer time and even if they aren't serious all the time, they know when to be serious and when someone truly needs prayer.

Graceful said...

Oh my gosh, Susan, this made me laugh because my boys are the exact same way! They get goofy and silly and say dumb things, and I get irritatd and start lecturing about how we need to be respectful to God, and the whole thing ends up disastrous! Glad to know I'm not alone. I think maybe a more relaxed approach is best; lecturing about God probably never has a postive end-result!

Laura said...

I think Michelle said it all!