My daughter never seizes to amaze me.
As a father I recognize that my duty is to help my daughter grow emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically. I, as well as my wife, spend many of our hours in the day helping our daughter to grow and learn. Recently Claire learned how to pray. As Catholic Christians, all of our prayers begin with the sign of the cross. It is a simple, yet powerful gesture that sums up the faith and the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Claire kind of sort of can do it. Usually she lifts her hand towards her forehead and then brings it down towards her chin in a circular motion. Wax on, wax off sort of thing. We’re working on it.
Our prayer time with Claire is short. After Claire attempts the sign of the cross she places her palms together to pray. This she can do really well. Most of her prayer time is before meals and before going to bed. We keep it short and sweet because, well… she’s not even two yet. Claire has come to recognize that before every meal we must give thanks and pray. She has become sort of the prayer police at home.
It isn’t unusual for my wife and I to find ourselves pulled a million different directions. Between my wife’s night shift work, lack of sleep, and part time Masters Degree studies and my Youth Ministry schedule that can be…unpredictable at best; we find our selves on the go all the time and exhausted. It is challenging to make prayer a priority every morning. We do it, but it is challenging.
A few days ago I found myself rushing to get to a night meeting at church. I had cooked our meal and was all “go, go, go”. I put the plate of food on the table and immediately began to eat. I was interrupted by my daughter’s words: “prway!” It took a second to register. “Prway? Yes. I need to pray. Give thanks.” I put the fork down and my wife, daughter and I prayed together.
It is so easy to get caught up in the business of life. It is so easy to rush to that important thing. What we do is important and necessary, or else we wouldn’t do it. Yet, we must slow down to give thanks. To “prway”, as a wise young child is teaching me.
As we enter into these next few weeks of family interactions, feasts, laughter, hurrying and last minute shopping excursions let us not forget to give thanks. To pause and “prway”. For life is a gift that we have for a short time and praying is a necessary way of giving thanks to God for it. My daughter teaches me this every time a plate touches our table.