My kids and I do not pray together every night at bedtime. Our family does not pray before every meal. For me, prayer is more intimate and more about my relationship with God, my conversation with God. And that's what I teach my kids. If they ask to pray at bedtime or before eating or anytime, I certainly facilitate their request.
Last night, we were getting ready for bed. Teagan was reading a chapter to us from a library book. Zach remembered that Teagan likes bedtime tea and asked me to make some for her. Bedtime tea is chamomile vanilla and Teagan tends to forget about it until we have the lights out and are leaving the room. But last night, Zach remembered for his sister so she was able to enjoy a small mug of chamomile vanilla tea with a touch of honey.
As the kids got into bed and under the covers, Teagan asked if we could pray.
We folded hands and Teagan went first. She thanked God for Valentine's Day and for the cards she shared and that were given to her. Then it was Zach's turn.
Thank you for Valentime's. Thank you for candy and for our house. Thank you for me being kind to Teagan and I like when I am kind and I want to be kind to Teagan every month. I just feel so great when I am kind and I like Valentimes and my fwiends and and my house and it's just so great and so good and all the time.
In Jesus name we play,
Then he informed me it was my turn. I said "God bless Teagan. God bless Zachary. God bless Daddy. God bless all our friends and family. Thank you for this special day to remember the people we love. My special prayer is for those who don't feel loved. Please, God, help them to feel your love and come to know that people who don't even know them love them through you. Amen."
Zach wanted another turn. He liked my "God bless..." prayer. So he put his own spin on it with "God loves me. God loves Teagan. God loves Mommy. God loves Daddy."
Teagan asked for another turn to pray. She prayed for her friends and she prayed about the joy she had after such a good day.
The cool thing about my kids praying out loud in this free form way is that I get a little bit of insight into their world and their hearts and minds.
Teagan shared some stuff in her prayers about friends at school. Zach shared his pride in having been kind in a special way to his sister.
I'm not going to change my style or try to coerce my kids into praying out loud every night. But I am going to cherish the times they want to share that conversation with me.