On a recent morning drive to school I asked the children what I could pray for them that day. I wish I could say this is a daily practice, but I do like to ask every once in a while to gauge their heart attitude and remind them that even when they are away they are on my mind/heart. Because they are typically developing tweens I got three versions of "I dunno. Nothing really."
Grasping at another way to ask the question I said, "Well, what if God were in our car this morning. What would you ask him?"
Not missing a beat P replied, "How did YOU get in here?"
After a chorus of giggles I tried again. "Seriously, if God were in our car. What do you think He would hope for you today? What would He say?"
K replied perkily, "He'd tell us He hoped we had a great day."
The overthinker in me gulped. Is this what I am teaching my children? That God's desire for them is just a great day? Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course, but, wow, there is SO MUCH MORE God wants for their lives and mine. Frankly, some of it doesn't mean every day will be "great."
Yes, I overanalyze. Welcome to my exhausting brain. Realizing my audience is not quite finished with 4th grade, I toned down my internal dialogue.
"I think He would say that and more. I think He would say He hoped you had a day of remembering He was with you, listening for Him in your heart, being grateful and looking for opportunities to love people."
As I drove away I couldn't help but think about the types of prayers I pray with my children and the message they send. We bless our food. We pray at the start and end of many days. We pray when we are struggling with something...but truth be told the 'script' of those prayers is still pretty simple. "Thank you for this...help us with that."
I want our relationships with Him to be real not rote.
I thought about one of my favorite parenting truths: Children are far more influenced by what is CAUGHT than what is TAUGHT. What are they catching from my prayers? A sweet God who bids them off to school with a sing-songy "have a great day?" How is a 'great day' even defined? Pleasant? Easy? Worry free?
My children are growing in body, mind, emotion...I want to make sure there are opportunities for their faith to be growing too. The point for me was that if I want my children to trust a mighty, big, powerful God I ought to step it up a notch in terms of the conversations we are having with Him through prayer. My children aren't preschoolers anymore and my prayers shouldn't be either. So, we are easing out of the shallow end in our prayers. Asking Him for bigger things. Risking more, requiring more faith.
I am writing this down for accountability to myself. God, please help my children see you as so much bigger than a sweet Grandpa whose only desire for my children is a pleasant, worry-free day. That is a great foundation--a nice place to start--but spur us on, Lord, to so much more.