Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lessons from Noah - Prayer

Wow. I didn't realize it had been so long since I had written something. March to June (almost July!)...that's a long time! I've always wanted to blog, but I didn't ever say I'd be good at doing it regularly! :) 

A lot has happened in our lives in the past months. Nothing too dramatic or no exciting news, just a lot of things. We are in the midst of full-blown toddlerhood. It seemed like it was maybe April when Noah stopped being a "baby" and really became a toddler, even though he had been walking and developing independence for a couple of months. He started seeking more and more independence and testing boundaries and limits. At first, I just wanted to hide and pray that it would all magically go away and my very agreeable little baby would be back. After a month or two, I knew that wasn't going to be the case, so I decided to start learning a bit more about toddlers. I kept telling Brian how unfortunate it was that childcare classes teach you how to take care of a newborn, but that's where they stop. I'm quickly learning that toddlers are an EXTREMELY different kind of little people! They are the most nerve-wracking and frustrating people in the world but at the same time, they have to be the silliest, most joyful and fun-loving of all of God's creatures! (At least that's the case with mine!) 

I've always heard it said that as adults, we have a lot we can learn from children. I find I'm learning so much from Noah...both things about our innate human natures and tendencies as well as things about myself. I thought it would be fun to collect and record my "Lessons from Noah" over the next several months (or longer!) (or knowing me and that I haven't been too great at posting "series" in the past, this might be the only one! So, enjoy while it lasts!) 

Several months ago, we starting praying with Noah as a part of his bedtime routine. We have always prayed for him at bedtime but not necessarily with him. So at nights now, he and I (or his daddy) sit in the rocking chair, fold our hands, and I say a brief prayer thanking God for a day of playing and doing whatever else we might have done and for friends and family we have seen during the day, and pray for a good night of sleep. It was not long before I saw how much of "creatures of habit" we really are. After we would finish stories and turn off the light to finish milk, sing songs, and have snuggle time, Noah would put his two little hands together to remind me to pray. Only after a couple of weeks, prayer had become a regular part of his routine, and he didn't want to miss out on it!

We have recently starting including him in meal-time prayers as well. (I know that sort of sounds funny because we haven't ever "excluded" him from our prayers... Basically, we've always prayed before our meals together but haven't always said, "Noah, let's pray for our food..." or something similar.) As he is growing in his understanding of things, we're now trying to encourage him to participate witn n˜ h us and trying to explain what we are doing. All that said, he quickly picked up on this "habit" as well. It has now become such a habit that we often laugh about it because if one of us leaves the table to bring something else to the table (i.e. cooking only 3-4 pancakes at a time and getting up to bring the new, hot ones back to the table and sitting back down), Noah will fold his hands and ask to pray to "bob"/God. There have been several recent meals where we have "blessed our food" 5-6 times before we are finished eating! Just thinking of it makes me smile! 

These instances came to my mind on Sunday when we were discussing prayer in our small group. Prayer is our study/discussion topic for the summer, and this past Sunday we were specifically talking about daily prayer. Now, being completely honest, I am not a great "pray-er" by any means. I have let myself "off the hook" and lately have been lazy about having a quiet time regularly each day, and I have never been very good about praying at various "unscheduled" times of the day (times that aren't meal times, bed times, quiet times, etc.). I always feel very convicted when I read about or hear a lesson on prayer because it is something that I desperately want to be better about doing. 

It's such a simple thing to do. It's not complicated. It's something we can do anytime and anywhere. While we do have models and examples in scripture and there are different types of prayer, overall, there's not a right or wrong way pray. All we have to do is make it a priority and develop it as a "habit." 

Although he might not fully understand it and sometimes we joke about it, through Noah's innate need of routine, he has developed a desire to pray continually and without ceasing.  In fact, there have been times we have sat down for a meal together after rushing to get food on the table when we forget to stop and pray before the meal. However, our faithful little guy will always put his hands together to remind us to stop and be thankful for what we have. He views it as a fun thing to do. He enjoys putting his little hands together and watching mom and dad close their eyes to talk to "bob"/God. What an awesome thing to start to understand at such a young age. How much more would we all benefit from adding/keeping prayer as a part of our daily routine and at the same time, viewing it also as a fun privilege! 

(If I was really good, I would have a photo of Noah praying at the top of this post. However, the little stinker doesn't sit still long enough to take a posed photo, and I haven't seemed to be able to "catch him in the act!")

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