It’s been a long day. Despite the fact that it’s supposed to be summer vacation, Kory was out the door for an early breakfast meeting before 6:30. The rest of us were up by 6:45. Our daughter had swim team practice, and our boys had swim lessons.
Everyone was out the door to their respective activities by 8:30. Our daughter with her “gubby” (my dad), and the other two with their “mussy” (my mom). And I was on the road to my office right behind them.
Part of my legal practice includes representing land owners in eminent domain proceedings, so I had a site inspection at a commercial property today, followed by lunch with clients. And then I was back to my office to draft a brief on another matter that had me doing “mental gymnastics” all afternoon. Add to that a relentless muscle spasm in my left shoulder blade that just won’t go away and the long commute home, and I was ready to call it a day when I walked in my back door at 7:30 this evening.
But the day wasn’t over.
There were still baths to be given, chores to inspect, stories to read, little ones to rock, and medicine to be given. And when I laid our youngest in his bed, I was still in my work clothes and heels, and I was spent. Completely.
But the day STILL wasn’t over, as I had one more very important task to tend to.
Prayer is something I’m trying really hard to work on right now, especially as it relates to praying for our children. I’ve always prayed for them, but after reading Mark Batterson’s book, Praying Circles Around Your Children, I’ve become convicted about what it really means to “pray without ceasing.” And I’m trying to create some new habits.
One of those habits is to lay hands on each of our children before they go to bed and to pray over them out loud so that they can hear me. So in an effort to honor this commitment, I laid hands on our youngest and began to pray.
But I’ll admit it wasn’t my best prayer. In fact it was pretty mindless and pretty lame. It was a reflection of my exhaustion. And instead of including specific, thoughtful prayers for my youngest son, it was filled with mindless words of thanks. For the day. For the summer. For our friends. For swimming, etc., etc. Not that those are bad prayers to pray, and not that it isn’t totally appropriate to go to God completely spent, but my heart and head weren’t in it, and I was on cruise control.
After I wrapped it up with “In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen,” my three year old looked me square in the eyes and said:
“You didn’t pray for this boy.”
“What boy?” I asked.
“Me,” he said.
Ouch. He was right. I hadn’t. And he noticed. So I took a deep breath, laid my hands back on his sweet little head and tried again. This time, I prayed specific prayers over him and for him. And as I spoke the words of prayer, he nestled into his pillow pet, put his thumb in his mouth, and shut his eyes.
In that moment, I realized in a new way how much attention our children pay to what we do. I realized at what an early age they can begin to understand the substance of our prayers. And I realized how important it is that they hear us pray for them.
So my commitment to lay hands on my children and pray over them has taken on a new meaning this evening. And that was a perfect way to FINALLY end my day.
Do your kids know you pray for them? If not, how might you show them?