Competitive Prayer


Faith and Parenting / Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

This is generally what my house sounds like in the morning....

​Me: Okay, kiddos.  Who wants to get ready first?

​Kids: no answer.  Still watching cartoons.

​Me, to one child: Do you want to get ready by yourself or do you want Mommy to help you?

​Z (It's usually Z): I want Mommy to help!

​So we get his new shirt and pants and socks on.  Then I send him over to get his snow stuff on.

​Me: if you get ready fast enough, you'll have a few minutes to play on your snow hill before school.

​(I imagine that 'snow hill' will be 'sand box' come spring time.)

​Me, to second child (usually E): Okay, sweetie, do you want to get ready by yourself or do you want Mommy to help?

​E: I want Mommy to help.

​As we're putting on new socks...

​E looks over at his brother: He's FASTER than me!!!  He's aaahhhheeaad of meeeee...!

​Cue complete 4-year-old meltdown.

roaring lioness

Still E: He's so much ahead of me!  He's faster than me!

Crying.  Screaming.  Stomping feet.

Me, in my best calm voice: Well, he's ahead of you because he came here first when I asked who wanted to get ready.

E: It's not faaaaiirrrrrr....

Me: Do you want to be first next time?

E: Yes!

Me: Then when I ask you to get ready, I need you to get ready.

​This happens every single day.

So you can imagine what's coming around dinner time, right? 

After all the "he's faster than me!", "he got to be buckled first!", "he got his mittens on first!"

​Before supper we've taken to doing our simple kid-prayer, tailored to little boy attention spans:

Dear God, thank you for my supper, and for my brother​, and for everything else.  Amen.

Then we started taking turns 'leading', which was the cutest thing in the whole wide world.  Z would make us close our eyes and repeat after him.  Then he'd add things like "thank you God for our beautiful place to live", and "for pizza", and "for roller coasters".

After that, he decided that we should each take turns to lead.

So imagine my stress levels rising when one day, before supper, I ask whose turn it is to lead.  Z says "it's my turn!"  E says "it's my turn!"

Mommy thinks, oh no....

​Can you imagine?

Thank you God for pizza.

Nooooo!! Not for pizza!  Thank you God for roller coasters!!

Mooommmmmyyyyy!  He's interrupting me!  I don't want to say thank you God for the roller coasters!

Crying.  Screaming.  Stomping feet.

That's how prayer, goes, right?  There's a winner and a loser and lots of jostling for position.

I think that's how I learned it.  Competitive prayer.  Who can pray the best and the fastest and the loudest.

​Maybe we still need a little more practice....

5 Replies to “Competitive Prayer”

  1. Perfect dialogue: I can hear and see you all perfectly.
    Keep up the calm mommy voice, keep saying sweetie.

    (Are you saying we are all like 4yr olds but God keeps saying “sweetie, well then next time…”?)

    1. God to Margaret: “Well, sweetie, maybe next time you should not eat that fifth brownie….” Oh wait, I think that was advice to me. Hahaha.

    2. Oh! But a real, theology insight, re: next time put your pants on first: Rowan Williams, citing Bishop Butler, says that “the greatest and most dangerous delusion of human agents [is] the belief that the consequences of my actions shall be as I please” (in The Lion’s World).

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