Sunday, April 8, 2007

I pray. . .

. . . not with regularity or with sanctioned prayers. I pray what is in my heart.

Most of the time it is the same prayer. It’s short and to the point. I don’t want to take up God’s time unnecessarily.

If I feel like I have more time and God might not be too busy, I have a longer version which consists of the same elements every time.

I pray most often at night, lying in bed before I start to read whatever book I am reading at the time. I close my eyes and recite in my head the same short prayer.

I pray when I hear of terrible things happening. Especially when the terrible things happen to children.

I pray as my husband leaves for work (if I happen to wake up), or on a trip without me.

I pray when my children leave my arms and venture into the world without me.

I pray, but do not have a childhood based upon prayer.

I remember as a child attending various church functions with friends of differing faiths.

Most of all I remember my friend Angie Thompson taking me to choir practice several times at her Episcopal church. I loved singing and the content of the song mattered little to me. Occasionally the choir would sing at a Wednesday evening service. One child would ring the bells before we entered the sanctuary. It was exciting to pull the rope to ring the bells. It was more exciting to don the robes and sing at the front of the church.

Craig and I joined our church by reaffirmation of faith while I was pregnant with my daughter. In truth, I think we were motivated by the desire to have our child baptized, but we have become fairly involved in our church. Our pastor told us at the time that we needn't join based on the idea that our child would go to Hell if he/she wasn't baptized. According to the Presbyterian faith, the child will go to Heaven even unbaptised. We joined anyway.

We don’t often attend the service; usually only when M sings; but we participate in other ways. I teach Sunday School at least once a month. Craig is in the nursery, doting on the babies and helping to watch the toddlers that have older siblings in Sunday School. We’ve gotten to know other parents simply by hanging out in the nursery at church.

Other people in the church know who we are just because we are involved. M is in the cherub choir so I am at church on Wednesday evenings as well. I’ve gotten to know some of the other moms of the girls in the choir just by being there.

The great thing about our church, to me anyway, is that our church is not overly strict. I meet the other parents and don’t feel like I could never say a bad word about anyone because it would be sooo wrong, especially in church. We chat about normal things and are often brutally honest about the problem kids in Sunday School, the irritating things about parenting and the sometimes crotchety older folks of the congregation. The Associate Pastor once even shared a story about some older people complaining about HIS kids being too loud during a sermon HE was delivering.

Our church seems to be dying because there are not a lot of young families attending anymore. It’s sad, but when those young families hear older members saying things like “It’s a shame your kids are so loud,” it doesn’t make for an inviting environment for families with young children.

I love our church because it is generally relaxed. The people are real people who don’t come across as preaching at you or being holier than thou.

Most of the older members of the congregation look at our children and smile. They love their zest for life.

I love going to the service and knowing the words and the melody to most of the regular hymns.

I love watching M sing those regular hymns along with the congregation, wearing her robe, standing in the front of the sanctuary.

I pray my standard prayer when the service asks us to pray silently.

Dear Lord, please keep Craig, Miss M, K, me, and the rest of our families safe and healthy. Amen.

Hey, it's working so far.

Happy Easter.

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Sandy said...

Lovely post.

I can totally relate to the criticism from the older folks at church. Kurt and I had a discussion yesterday about whether or not we should go to church. We opted not to since there is no nursery care or Sunday School and were afraid our kids would act out too much.

But we'll be there next week cheerfully doing nursery duty.

Mom Thumb said...

The best church we ever had was more like a family, with multiple generations and everyone accepted. The pastor talked to us like we were his friends, he didn't preach and call us sinners. Just talked. When he went to another church, that all changed. I miss him. Happy Easter and blessings to you and your family!

Kara said...

Happy Easter

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

I am sure the Lord loves hearing each one of your prayers. I too often feel bad about praying for my "little things" when God has much biger tghings to deal with. But then I remember that he is GOD and can handle it ALL. AND just as I LOVE to to hear every little detail my son my tells me, I am sure our Heavenly Father LOVES to hear us come to him and tell him our hearts.

Thanks so much for your comments and concern over my pregnancy at my site. I appreciate it!

wayabetty said...

I just wrote a post about our take on religion. In our house, we have a little angel and every time my hubbie travels, all the kids and I say a prayer to "keep daddy safe" and then each kid kisses the angel.

Damselfly said...

It's so nice to take some time to slow down and pray . . . . ;)

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