Corey and I don't regularly pray with our children. Occasionally I say little silent prayers to myself, and I think Corey does too but we don't pray together or with our children at mealtime or before bed. I think prayers said out loud and with others have kind of intimidated me. I've often questioned who exactly I was praying to and that would lead me to get hung up on words like, "Dear Lord" and "in Jesus' name".
Last weekend, at the retreat I attended, I thought a lot about gratitude and the act of being thankful. I thought about the power of saying out loud the things that make me happy. At first when you think about it, you start with all the big things...health, family, shelter, etc. But when you think about today, and about what made you happy or grateful today, your mind gets a little more specific.
So last night, I initiated a new family habit...or maybe I should call it a ritual. Before dinner I'm going to start a group prayer by saying..."Dear God I am thankful for...(and I'll share one thing)", then each person around the table is going to take a turn saying the same thing and inserting what they are thankful for that day. After everyone has spoken we will then say "amen" in unison. It doesn't have to be planned out and you don't have use big words...just share one thing that filled your heart with happiness. Last night I shared that I was thankful for my garden, Shore said that he was thankful that Corey's birthday is coming up, Soleil didn't want to participate, and Corey told us that he was thankful for how comfortable our family makes him feel. I'm hopeful that Soleil will pray with us tonight and that this will become a special nightly habit of ours. And while my garden does make me very happy, nothing filled me with as much joy as having my whole family thank something larger than ourselves for all that we have been blessed with.