I am currently reading Anne of Green Gables to my two oldest, and in the book Anne confesses to her new adoptive mother that she does not say nightly prayers, essentially because God gave her red hair "on purpose", and she resents it. But Anne also points out that if she were to pray, she would go into a field alone or a forest somewhere and look up, up, up....and let the prayer come to her.
This brought back a childhood memory, or, rather, a string of them. I told my children that in Tennessee, I did use to go into the cornfield or near the edge of the woods to pray in the evening before bedtime. It was usually summer and during twilight when the whippoorwills' calls pierced the fog about the hills and woods. As I stood in the uneven soil of the field or dropped to my knees and began Our Father, I felt closer to God than I would have if shut up inside.
There were also evenings when I'd sit in an old lawn chair by Freddy's grave just below my bedroom window, the light spilling across my lap. Freddy, you see, was a big floppy-eared black rabbit whom I loved very much. He died too young - even for a rabbit, but I sat by his grave often, twirling my favorite walking stick in my hands. And in sitting by Freddy's grave in prayer, I felt closer to the One who had made my dear little friend.
After sharing this with them, we were led into a discussion of the importance of persistent prayer - not only as a means of asking and receiving, but as a way of seeking your Creator often and being humble before him.
"And it's very important to thank God for your blessings," I added. "Because in doing so, you'll become more aware of just how truly blessed you are. Do you know what I say in many of my prayers?"
"Well, yes...but, no, I say 'thank you, Father, for all we are blessed and provided with'."
I didn't add that I always thanked Him for their Papa and for each of them, too.
"I know; I know," said Berto, his eyes growing wide and lighting up. "I've heard you say that at dinner."
"Mama, do I pray enough?" asked Ana, her eyes growing misty.
Well, dang, I wasn't trying to make it a chore, a burden or a schooling in guilt. I was trying to convey the strength you get when consistently seeking your Father.
"Yes, Ana. We pray together at church, don't we? And during the school year, we say Our Father on the way to school each morning. Look, God simply wants to hear from you, so it can be as simple as saying at bedtime, "Father, I love you and thank you for my friends and family and toys and home. Amen.' Just remember to talk to Him often, and to ask for His guidance when you're older."
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me
Psalms 27: 8 When you said, Seek you my face; my heart said unto you, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.