Bedtime prayer is a special time. Here is where much of the heart-talk between the girls and I take place. Here is where questions are asked, thoughts are voiced, worries are aired, and fears are wrestled. Here is where many of the rewards of Motherhood take place, and where we find our children in intercession for others. It's a sweet, sweet time.
Right now, at this moment, the girls all pray on their own. Joshua and I tuck them in and he kisses them before he goes off to the boys room to pray with them. It thrills me with each child when they speak the prayers of their heart after a year or so of repeat-after-me prayers. It makes me look forward to that special time with the girls even more to know that all three of them have things they want to say and want to express, with regards to prayer or to the whispered chats.
We always start off with me walking around to each bed and tucking each girl under the covers and a bug hug and kiss. While I make these rounds, we all sing a hymn. My sweet Sarah Grace, who sings loudly and adoringly and off key. Elizabeth, whose voice is barely a whisper as she hides half behind her beloved blanket, but whose heart is sincere. Anna occasionally misses a word or four but sings right on pitch and always with a smile.
After the song ends and all three girls are tucked in, I settle on one of the beds to pray for them. I ask them if they have anything they want me to pray for, and then we do.
Then, the precious begins. We take turns with which girl begins. All three of them start off something like this:
"Dear Lord, Thank You for the day so great. Thank You for the world and how You made it. Just thank You for Mommy and Daddy and Thomas and Sarah and Elizabeth and Anna and Daniel. Thank You for friends and family. Thank You for our church and our friends there and thank You for our house. Thank You for my soft blanket."
And then they diverge. Sarah Grace goes on to thank God for how she gets to learn about Him and to pray for people who don't have homes and for children who don't have parents. She prays for any person she can think of that has an illness or is pregnant. She gives thanks for Jesus, the life He lived, the way He healed people, and how He died for her. She wraps up with asking God to "just put a hedge around Satan so he can't do his mean tricks" and then assuring Him that she loves Him very much and is so glad that He lives in her heart. "Pwease help me to be good and to love others."
Elizabeth goes on to pray in broad strokes, encompassing pretty much every person in the world in one way or another. She then reiterates her thanks for her blanket (each girl has a special blanket from their babyhood that they love), tells God she loves him and thanks Him for Jesus.
Anna...now Anna just started praying on her own a few months ago. She is at the stage that I find endearing and entertaining. She prays with her eyes wide and her head on a swivel. She gives thanks by name for her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Then she goes into great detail and gives thanks for every. single. object. in the room. Or at least the ones she can make out by the glow of the night light. Then she thinks carefully about what she might have forgotten and is thankful for those toys and books and clothes and food items that aren't in the room with her. And always, her toothbrush.
I laugh, but then I remember that God loves to hear her sweet prayers. She can't comprehend, in her two year old mind Who God is and all His greatness, but what she does know is the she wants to talk to Him. She is beginning to understand that He is responsible for all the good we have. Including our toothbrushes.