My kids have a hard time with prayers. Because they’re kids. And God is invisible to them. I think they believe. But they sure can’t see him. So when they pray, at least out loud, they just say the stuff they think they’re supposed to say. I don’t get the impression they’re really talking to anyone.
The younger they are, the more this is the case. They sort of mumble and repeat themselves and repeat me and their dad. Sometimes it’s mortifying to hear myself echoed and I think, “Wow. I’ve just been phoning it in recently.”
A few common phrases:
“Thank thee for this day” – My kids ALWAYS never don’t thank Heavenly Father for the day. It is the number one thing they are thankful for. I guess it makes sense. One more day on earth. It’s worth a shout out. But every day? Some days straight up eat rocks. On those days, I prefer to thank him for making tomorrow a new day, Scarlet O’Hara-style.
“Thank thee we had a great day today and thank thee that we’ll have a great day tomorrow” – I love this. On first hearing, you might think my kids could see the future, like they already KNOW tomorrow is gonna be great. Or you might think they were optimists, like they just have a feeling it’s gonna be great.
Personally, I think they are coercing the Man Upstairs, as in, “If I say it’s gonna be great, then he has to make it great because he’s already been thanked. He has no choice at this point.” It’s like saying, “Mom, thanks for putting gummy worms in my lunch box tomorrow. I’m going to really enjoy eating those.”
“We’re grateful for all our many blessings” – this one’s definitely a cop-out. I can’t think of a single specific thing I’m thankful for so I’ll just say this and it will cover everything. It’s like writing a thank you note at Christmas that says, “Thanks for the presents. Presents are my favorite.” Really? Which presents. Is this even a human person writing this note?
Well, we asked Wanda to give the prayer in primary on Sunday. That’s our church children’s meeting and I’m in charge of said meeting. So I’m always nervous when she gives a prayer. I never know what she’ll say, besides the above-mentioned phrases.
She stepped up to the microphone. It was a pretty normal prayer, and impressive really, because she added a few extra things that made it seem like she was actually thinking about what she said and trying to talk to God. My favorite was the last line though, “Please help all our ancestors who are sick to feel better.”
Now, I’ve never heard her say the word “ancestors” before and I’m not 100% sure she knows what it means. Her grandma’s been sick this week but I’d count her more a “relative” than an “ancestor.”
No, if Wanda’s ancestors are sick, I’m pretty sure there’s not a lot of hope for recovery at this point.
Sorry, great grandma Matilda!