Dear God and Amen
The practice of informal, spontaneous prayer contributes to an integrated spirituality in children in which they begin to perceive that all of life connects with transcendent realities; prayer is not compartmentalized but available and appropriate in everyday life needs and situations
~Mara Lief Crabtree, Nurturing Children’s Spirituality, p. 90
When in history did our “Dear God” & “Amen” bookends become a part of our prayer life? More importantly, how did prayer become an aspect of religious life that is confined to the church walls and the dinner table? I admit that the type of prayer described above is very difficult. It wasn’t until I was required to read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence that I really began to see prayer as a conversation instead of a monologue. I have read much about the “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” ways of praying. It should be so natural that your speech sounds no different in prayer than it does when you call up a friend. I like this. Especially as my daughter begins to talk, which she does nonstop unless she is asleep or eating, I think about ways that I can help her make prayer her primary speech. How can I get her to see that everything she does can be shared with God. I am certainly not good at it myself and it is hard to branch out beyond praying for ambulances and firetrucks as they pass by to praising him for wiggly bugs and chances to share toys.
As Miriam and I learn to pray together, I hope that she can become as comfortable and excited telling God about the pizza made of sand as she digs in the backyard sandbox as she is with me. As Miriam develops her own prayer language, I learn from her. She listens to her heart and knows when God’s voice is louder than all the others.
God, thank you for the informal and spontaneous moments when we are called to share our lives with you.