My son does not start his prayers reverently with, “Dear Heavenly Father…”
Or even, “Dear Lord God…”
Not even, “Dear…”
He starts them by folding his hands in front of his body.
He hovers over his food.
He looks at his plate of food.
He looks all around him.
And then he prays.
“Mommy, Daddy, Sissy Adelyne, GoGo (our family’s affectionate name for Josephine), Nana, Papa…”
This is where he pauses and looks around,
“Apple juice, nana (for banana this time), Minnie plate, ah, (short pause and then he points his finger up in the air as if he thought of it) Ruby Max (as in the television show), fork…” And the list goes on.
Maxwell takes his time when he prays. He prays for those dearest to his heart first.
After that, he begins thanking God for what he loves (not people related).
Following that, he takes time to look around him and thank God for what is in his surrounding, appreciating even the fork that he uses to eat his food.
Sometimes we hold our hands forever while we wait for this little boy to finish his lengthy prayer…I may even sigh. Or try to hurry him along.
But, and perhaps it’s because it’s the 2-yr-old age of stubbornness, he does not allow our influence to affect his prayer. When he is done sharing with God what he is grateful for—when he is finished sharing his heart of gratitude, THEN and only then does he shout excitedly, throwing his hands into the air, “AMEN!”
And his small sister next to him, Josephine, gets a HUGE grin on her face and wildly air slaps her hands (because the coordination of clapping them together is still to be learned—she is 10 months).
Maxwell and Josephine rejoice in prayer time.
And by the end of his prayers, no matter how cold our food is getting, his heart of gratitude and devotion to express praise for it all, rubs off on us, too. Where we may have found ourselves sighing moments earlier in hopes that his gratitude would run out, seeing his excitement and rejoicing about those he loves and the gifts of life around him rekindles sparks in our hearts that serve to remind us that our time with God, no matter the circumstances, should never be rushed.
Even at the dinner table.