Thursday, December 01, 2011

Praying with Children

Miriam will only get ready for prayer if she is the one acting as the voice. It's kind of a new thing with her.

It's also kind of distracting for dinner prayers and family prayers and any other prayer except for her own personal bedtime prayer because she assumes that if you ask her to get ready for prayer you've asked her, by obvious extension, to also say the prayer.

"Get ready for prayer, please, Miriam," we'll prompt.

She'll quickly fold her arms and bow her head and start praying.

"Dear Father. Bless a day. Name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!"

"It's not your turn, Miriam. Fold your arms, bow your head, and be quiet."

"Dear Father. Bless a day. Name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!"

"Miriam. We just want you to fold your arms and bow your head not say the prayer!"

"Dear Father. Bless a day. Name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!"

Last night it was my turn to pray and I could hardly do so because we were all laughing so hard. Meanwhile, there's Miriam chattering on and on like a broken record. "Dear Father. Bless a Day..."

At one point Rachel, almost crying, begged for me to say the prayer because "Miriam [wasn't] praying for [them] to have good dreams," and she can't go to sleep unless someone prays for good dreams. Never mind the fact that we say bedtime prayers like ten minutes after family prayer and she can pray for good dreams then.

Today it was Andrew's turn to say family prayer. He managed to pray over Miriam's chanting (he only giggled a few times).

Truthfully, it's funny. And endearing. But, oh, it's distracting.

And that poem my mom used to always recite...

We close our eyes
And bow our heads
And fold our arms
While prayers are said.

...doesn't help much in this situation, either, because it doesn't say anything about quieting our little mouths or kneeling on our little knees and not purposefully falling over so we knock into the person kneeling next to us (*cough* Rachel *cough*) or having a general mien of reverence or anything like that. Maybe I should write another verse or two.

We shut our mouths—
Don't say a word,
Pass gas, or burp— 
While prayers are heard.

And if into
Your sis' you fall
You're kneeling wrong.
Sit still y'all!

Does that cover my bases?

Probably not.


  1. Personally, the more laughter and merriment at family prayer, the better. I have fond memories of family prayer growing up simply because it usually lasted at least half an hour (sometimes an hour) and there was often a great deal of loud laughter involved. And, yes, it sometimes spilled into the actual prayer. It was basically a family tradition. Because of this near tradition status, nothing bugged me more than my brother post-mission being all self-righteous during it and getting up and leaving the room because the rest of the family wasn't being "spiritual" enough. So I say encourage them having fun with it. They'll appreciate the good memories later. They've got plenty of time in life for being reverent.

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  3. I just deleted my post because of a pesky typo--good to know that other people laugh their way through family prayer, too!