Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Turn, My Turn...for Evening Prayers

Sleepy boy in Daddy's arms last night...
Last night, after a full, family day of fun, our children were plum tuckered out.  Mike transferred Jack and Nina from car seats to bed with barely a flutter of their eyelashes, and, even Luke, who struggles with bedtime and sleep every night happily went in to lay in his bed after listening to only a short portion of a read aloud on the couch with Daddy.

By nine-thirty a rare quiet blanketed our home.  I would have happily tucked myself into it, but I missed something:  Our two year old Jack had fallen asleep in the car.  He had never scrambled past his brother and sister with a "my turn, my turn," asking for his Bedtime Blessing.  As I prepared myself for bedtime, I almost wanted to wake Jack just so I could hear these words and, then, see his big smile as I drew a cross on his forehead and offered him a blessing.

You see, Jack did not communicate with words as early as some children do and we have spent months working in tandem with local Early Intervention services on his Speech.  So, I delight when he uses words to ask for something, especially when his request is for a blessing!

As I thought about Jack's part in our nightly ritual, I also thought about a new ritual I have begun, which I have yet to share here on the weekly series -- one I could go enjoy even if Jack was already asleep:

Praying Over Sleeping Children
I never know who I will find in whose beds when I go in to pray over the kids.  One night last week, I found Nina had snuck into the boys' room and she and Luke were sound asleep in Jack's bed while Jack was laying crossways on Nina's!

During one of the Luke's recent bouts with a viral infection, I began wondering if he had EEE (a scary mosquito-borne virus that is all too prevalent in our part of the country).  He did not, thankfully.  Yet, one night, as he lay sleeping in a fevered stupor, I touched his hot little cheek and felt compelled to simply pray over him (and for him).

Later, when Luke's fever had passed and his headaches and other virus symptoms subsided, I told him about how I had prayed over him.  With a, "Really?", he smiled and gave me a hug.  No more needed to be said.

Since then, I have not always told my children about my nighttime trips into their rooms once they are asleep, but I have enjoyed making them.

Often, before I go to bed (if I have outlasted our reluctant sleeper Luke!) or when I wake up in the middle of the night, I quietly enter the kids' rooms to check on them.  While I am in each room, I gently lay a hand on each of my children's heads (or lips to their foreheads) and pray.  Some nights, the prayer is an additional Bedtime Blessing.  Other nights it is a prayer of gratitude.  Still others, it is one of petition.  And, occasionally, it is a prayer without words, on that simply flies from my heart to the Heavens without taking the shape verbally in my head.

And so it was that last night, I went from missing Jack's "my turn, my turn" to realizing it was my turn -- my turn to pray with adoration, praise, petition and gratitude over each of my children before slumbering myself.

Do you pray with and for your children nightly?  What are some of your favorite prayer rituals?

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