I wrote my 52nd weekly post on Easter Sunday. That is one whole year of writing every week about faith, family, life, failure, joy and chaos. One year ago, the idea to share my private thoughts in such a public forum was a massive jump out of my comfort zone. I typically shield my emotions, failures and questions. But somehow sharing my faith journey through the written word has been easy (mostly), fun and a great way to hold myself accountable to an ongoing faith practice!
I usually try to come up with my own ideas of what to write and share. Some weeks are more difficult than others. On occasion I have resorted to asking my son for ideas – which for some reason feels like cheating! But there are so many ways God is at work in my life and the life of my family each week that I have never been concerned that there would be nothing to write – God is present in this family!
Most weeks I write when no one is around because I am so easily distracted. If the kids are running around I cannot focus! On one recent Sunday afternoon, I was working to finish that week’s post while the 2-year-old was napping. I told the 6-year-old to just give me some space for a bit so I could finish my post. He was a little disappointed – but he understands the writing I do each week, and he could respect my need for time alone. He disappeared into his room for a while, then quietly brought me this note:
In case you can’t read my 6 year-old’s writing (he’s still learning to read and write) the note says:
“I love you Mommy. You are my best Mommy. I hope you have tons of people seeing your comments.”
Just the motivation I needed that day to keep writing! And more importantly, motivation to include my son even more in the writings I share each week.
So, to mix things up, I will do something a little different for the next 7 weeks… My husband and I are leading a 7-week adult education course at church about faith practices. What I plan to do is take each weekly topic, pick some of the best questions, and have a discussion about them with my son – with the open intent that the conversation can be documented each week in my post.
Sound OK? If not, too bad. You’ve read this long lead up already, so here we go!
Week 1 – Prayer
I’ll keep this short because (1) this post is already getting a little long and (2) I’ve written about prayer in my family before. (Prayer – special or routine? and When you teach a toddler to pray are examples.)
My son and I sat on the deck on a fantastically beautiful Saturday afternoon; I opened up the study guide and just threw out questions, putting my own spin on the wording to adapt for a 6-year-old. Is the bar for saying prayer set too high? What kind of prayer do you like better – scripted or spontaneous? If you tell someone you will pray for them, do you?
We had great discussion. He said he liked spontaneous prayer, and he’s learning that he can pray anywhere, anytime. He said he had never considered telling a friend who was sad or hurting that he would pray for them, but thought it was a good idea. He was concerned it would be hard to remember, but realized on his own that it would be easier to remember if he did it over and over again. (I offered the word “repetition.”) We were even able to carry our discussion through to church the next morning.
He didn’t say any one specific thing about prayer that would give me one cute and inspirational story to tell. Where I did see God was simply in the fact that we could have this open, honest and deep conversation. My son said that relying on prayer takes practice. But even more important for me this week is the reminder that I need to “practice” being open with my kids about faith by having frequent and intentional conversations. We can pray that God will continue to work through this dialogue, both for me and my kids!