Bedtime Prayers & Late Night Conversations

Bedtime prayers at our house sound something like this:

“Thank you God for Mommy and Daddy and Wam-maw and Wam-paw and.. [fill in all other family members names]…” Then his tightly shut eyes barely open as he scans the room, “…and for suns [his ceiling light is a sun] and blankets and water [in his Thomas the Train sippy cup] and Thomas! and ears and hair and toes and jammies and motorcycles [he has one painted on his wall]…

–[short break from praying] “Hey, Mom! Can we have a motorcycle? a real one? please?” [he and David fist bump and then say "oh man" when I tell them for the millionth time 'no' because motorcycles are too unsafe]–

“….and for boats and trains and elephants [he has a stuffed one in his room] and pennies and books…”

This goes on until it starts to get uber silly and he is no longer praying and is just putting off closing his eyes. “That’s it, Cohen. Wrap it up.”

“oookkkkaaaayyy. Thank you God. The End” [we should teach him to say "amen" but its just too cute to correct]

Come to think of it, dinner prayers aren’t that different except he thanks God for everything in the kitchen and dining room at his eye level instead of the items in his bedroom. There have been points when I wondered if it was a little “too silly”— whatever that is, right? But most of the time I am glad to have a little one who thanks God for everything that comes into his mind (or crosses his line of sight). Heck, I’d even like to take credit as if I were the one modeling such a thankful-for-everything response, but to tell the truth there’s more convicting going on then being patted on the back.

I was sitting at work today and my phone buzzed from atop the room divider, which is the only place I get service. It was a text from a number I didn’t recognize asking if I could talk. I wrote back and asked who it was. A second later the phone buzzed again and there was a name, first and last.

I drew a blank. Immediately feeling guilty for not being able to place the name of someone who I knew well enough to have my cell number, I started wracking my brain… work? no, not a client or even past client… church? no… family? certainly not… david’s family? no? no… college friend now married? don’t think so.. facebook friend? I logged on. No, not a facebook friend.

I drove around and did my appointments in the second half of the day and then finally had to admit I had no idea who this woman was and send an apology laden text. When I didn’t hear back in 30 minutes, I was just sure I had really blown it. Some friend of mine is reeling and feeling stupid because I am apparently having an awful brain fart, I thought, feeling sick to my stomach.

My phone buzzed (naturally) when I couldn’t answer it. I was talking to a young mom about her son’s frustration biting and what she could do (you know, besides scream and yell and hit him). The visit came to a close and I went to my car and opened my phone.

“This is ______. Your mom gave me your number. Sorry. Hope its ok. Do I have the right person?”

Instantly it all came together. Mom works in another county as a consultant on difficult cases. She told me about this young mother dealing with domestic violence. The facts came pouring back to me… 4 kids, a stalking ex, mom’s a new(er) Christian, financial struggles, custody issues… Mom had asked me at least a month ago if it was okay to give her my number so we could talk. I had agreed but she never called. And she had a new number so the one I had saved under “_____ {mom’s friend}” didn’t help. I texted back and we made plans to after Cohen had gone to bed.

I listened as she shared her situation, some of which Mom had already told me. She told me about her kids and her ex and her fear. My heart was in my throat. I did my best to share my life and things I have learned… a lot of which are things I wished I had learned sooner or submitted to more quickly.

All facts aside, the bulk of what she had to say was that she’s terrified about mostly things she cannot control and that she’s wondered about God in the process. If she’s praying for this or that (which admittedly seemed like reasonable requests, humanly speaking), then why isn’t God listening? I mean, its one thing to be frustrated about not getting a raise or that cute boy to notice you and whole OTHER thing to be worried for your safety and the well-being of your children. And at the heart of the matter, the real question is: can she really trust Him? to hear? to listen? to act? She’s not sleeping or eating or enjoying anything. Fear and anxiety are like that. I can say that because I have known all too well how the Enemy works as hard as he can to steal, kill, destroy…

I warned her to be careful how she thinks and even how she prays. If you hear yourself praying all the time about all the not-good that is taking place, then inside of you that part that faith that grows in response to hearing will gain strength in the fears and disappointments and not in the Goodness that is God. This does not make us ostriches burying our heads in the sand, pretending nothing not-good has happened.. nope. But instead we must acknowledge the facts and then bypass them to get to the Truth. The facts are the facts, but Truth is a person... not an angry, vindictive God waiting to punish us for our failings but a passionate, rescuing, loving God. So we bypass the circumstances and begin to (out loud) exult God for being Who He is… and not only will He inhabit those praises and become to us what He has always been***, but our faith will gain strength in Him instead of our fear.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? And even easy if you’re not in a press of some kind, coming up for air and trying to stay afloat. It is harder when the facts seem so big and daunting and the world feels like it is caving in.

I knew she didn’t want to say it, so I said it for her. “Sometimes it is hard to know how to pray something good about God, isn’t it? Sometimes it is hard to know what to be thankful for..” Her sigh on the other end of the line told me she intimately knew what I meant.

I thought about Co’s bedtime prayers and started rattling off things she could be thankful for, right down to breath in her lungs and a cell phone to make phone calls and the fact that her children are safe tonight and that for a year they’ve not lived with an abusive person. It wasn’t long before she was chiming in… thanking God for the protection they’ve had so far. And guess what? While she was thanking Him for protecting them for the last year, it occurred to her that He really has protected them and that there is already a precedent set to ask for Him to continue … bingo!

So tonight, David and I are lying in bed and my heart is spilling over. Thank you God for the precious little boy peacefully asleep in the next room and a husband who arrived home safe in the rain and a warm house and for being loved and for friends and photographs that make me smile and even thank you for everything You have brought me through thus far that allows me to have late night conversations with women so I can tell them what You are like when the bottom drops out (and yes, english majors, I know that’s a serious run-on sentence, but God doesn’t care about grammar *grin*)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

*** It occurred to me while typing this that God really does become to us what He’s always been… even thinking about Jesus. In the letter to the Colossian church, Paul writes that Jesus was “exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; “. Jesus put on the clothing of humanity and came to earth so that we could experience God in a tangible way. It wasn’t that God wasn’t already all of the things that Jesus demonstrated- ! He just knew we needed to experience it for ourselves. So it is safe to say that God is in the business of showing Himself to be all that He already is… for our sakes. Good news, isn’t it?

9 Comments

  1. The prayers of children can be so precious, and can teach us so much… even when they’re expressed through “sleepy sillies”. It’s wonderful to read that Cohen’s prayer was used by God (through you) to bring comfort and insight to your mom’s friend in her time of need. Oh how the Lord is good! :)

  2. One of my son’s first prayers was. “Dear Jesus, thank you for socks.” That was it. But those are the prayers we all need to be praying. Thanks for the little things that go unnoticed but are sometimes really needed. Like socks.

  3. This post makes me smile :) And, our girl prays the same way, giggles included. At the end she says, “Amen, praise Jesus, yep.”

  4. Sometimes starting to thank God for the little things unleashes our awareness of the overflowing and endless blessings that he really has lavished on us, but that we are sometimes blind to see.
    ps. Cohen is such a cutie!!

  5. Your blog is such a blessing! Keep on writing Kate your heart is beautiful! We are all waiting for your book! :)

    • I just started to cry when I heard you on Klove radio tailnkg about your unborn son Jonah. I can’t believe the believing power you have and I do believe God is going to use this time to show His great power so everyone can see that He is a True God and Faithful and Loving, all at the same time. Yes, He does answer pray, especially the ones who truly believe in Him. I had an abortion when I was barely 18 and it cause me to never have childern. I love childern very much and every chance I get around kids I like to tell them about Jesus and how much He loves them. May God richly bless you for what you are doing beyond healing your beautiful son Jonah!!!!!!!!!! I can’t stop crying

    • Submit to GOD resist the devil and he will flee. Confess, reepnt, and turn from sin, and ask Jesus for power to help you overcome all lust of the flesh. HE will give you the desires of your heart in you walk in agreement with HIM. HE will keep you in perfect peace if you keep keep your eyes fixed on JESUS. memorise and say daily, Isaiah 26:3 I have prayed for you and agree with you for your victory over the lust of the flesh and eyes, in Jesus name.

    • This is Jack Longmate writing in response to Maureen Basedow’s comment of 23 August 2010: About a “grand gesture,” Campus Equity Week/Fair Employment Week, in place since 2001, is observed during the last week of October in the odd years (2007, 2009, 2011, etc.) and is intended to be exactly that. The need to invigorate Campus Equity Week came up at COCAL. Auturo Perez from Mexico City proposed recognizing it.There certainly is a need for that–very rarely in the treatment of U.S. Higher Education is contingency status of the majority of its faculty mentioned, much less recognized as a serious issue affecting the wellbeing of the country.Sincerely yours,Jack Longmate (jacklongmate@comcast.net)

    • I’ve thought about her often this weneked. It’d just break my heart to see one of my babies in any kind of surgery, course I’m kinda a whimp. Anyway, great to here she’s doing well.

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