I began going to a new church about a year ago. We’ve been going as a family actually – my fiance, myself, and my seven-year-old. As part of our renewed commitment to Christianity and to set an example for our son, we also began saying prayers before our meals at home. At first the practice felt uncomfortable, the words did not flow forth easily. But over time, it began to feel more natural.
I’m still a little shy about our ritual in public or in other people’s homes, but occasionally we have had our prayers in restaurants. We’d hold hands and bow our heads and say it… quietly! I remember the first time we tried that at Swiss Chalet… A quick peak up revealed that those sitting near us had stopped talking and eating and seamed to be listening. What were they thinking? Perhaps they found it endearing; perhaps they found it silly!!
We take turns saying a prayer, even little Mirko takes his turn (his are much shorter!) When he’s really hungry, he asks if he can say the prayer… because he knows that will be faster!! But he does a great job, and I think it makes him feel a bit “grown up” to lead our family in prayer.
The ironic part about it is that the major motivation for beginning the practice was for the benefit of our son, and in the end, I wonder if John and I don’t benefit just as much, or more. It has had some interesting effects, like creating a stronger family bond, giving us a reason to eat together instead of grabbing food on the run, and providing us a “time out” a few times a day to hold each others hands.
For me personally, the best part is that our morning prayer always involves saying thank you to God for another day of life. It’s amazing how much that simple sentence has impacted me. I know I am a changed person since beginning every day feeling grateful to be alive.