praying childI used to pray the same bed-time prayer every night.  My mom would tuck me in and listen to me recite this verse:

“Day is done, gone the sun, God be with us everyone.”

Then I would go on to “God Bless” everybody — Mommy and Daddy, Grandpas and Grandmas, brothers and sister, cousins and friends.

When our family gathered around the supper table and it was my turn to say the blessing, I always rattled off this little ditty:meal prayer

“Thank you for the world so sweet,                         Thank you for the food we eat,                                 Thank you for the birds that sing,                         Thank you God, for everything.”

My siblings and I each had our own special prayers to recite.  I don’t know who chose those little sing-songy verses or they how they got assigned to us.  Meals didn’t start until dad called on someone to say grace and we all bowed our heads.  For Sunday dinner, my brother would usually get the nod because his prayer was short enough to get in between plays of the Packer game:

“God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Amen.”

My prayers have changed since those days, but sometimes I still feel like I’m saying the same things over and over again.  If I’m getting bored with the way I pray, I wonder how God feels.  I have a lot to learn here.

Prayer is one of those topics that tend to induce guilt (“I know I should pray more.”) or anxiety (“I don’t have to pray out loud, do I?”) or doubt (Does it really make a difference?”).  Prayer can seem mysterious, but as Billy Graham once said, “Prayer is simply a conversation between you and God.”  And most of us are pretty good at talking.  Listening, on the other hand, can be a problem.

This fall I’m going to be leading a Bible study on prayer, so expect the topic to come up here in the coming weeks. I don’t expect to have an answer for every question about prayer or attempt to solve this thing once and for all.  Instead, my hope is that we will take a step forward in enjoying our relationship with our loving Father, who wants to chat with us awhile every day.

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.  Psalm 54:2

10 thoughts on “Prayers

  1. Looking forward to your posts about prayer!!

    P.S. I think you copied your big sister’s prayers…….those were my prayers, too! And now that same bed-time prayer is also my grandchildrens’ prayer. Our grandsons tend to use the same meal time prayer as our brother — something short and to the point, especially when hungry!

    • Yep. Sometimes dogs or Badger football players found their way into the “God bless” section of the bedtime prayer. 🙂 And, yes, meal prayer is pretty much that one every night…though sometimes I try to jazz it up by singing a version I learned at church camp. They look at me funny…partly because it’s longer, I think!! Funny to read this and realize how much history there is to those prayers we recite so often.

  2. “…these morsels bless and grant that we
    will feast in Paradise with Thee.”

    I think I switched my mealtime prayer every so often…….got tired of saying the same thing all the time(hmmm…did you write something about that in your post??). I enjoyed changing things up every so often, just to keep everyone on their toes (and not just with new prayers……heehee).

  3. good one D. I am a United Methodist minister and focusing on Gratitude for the next month or so in worship. Very timely. Thanks for your ministry. Tim

  4. Loved this as it made me remember my mom teaching me to pray Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Although she was not a true believer she did plant a seed in the heart of her child by acknowledging there was indeed a God. The big change in my heart occurred when I learned the name of the only God was Jesus and He loves me and has me forever in His hands whether awake or asleep! I never had to ask Him to keep my soul if I die in my sleep!! My prayers now consist of conversing with Him daily whether praising, confessing, requesting ………and He never judges the quality of my prayers but the Holy Spirit makes my heart ache and feel empty when I put Him aside in busyness and forget to pray or to include Him in my day. He lifts me up!!!

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