By: Staci Stallings
A couple years ago my husband hit a rough patch with work. To put it mildly, things just weren’t going right. I knew he was struggling and that going to work each morning was more a burden than a joy. My kids and I had been praying on our way to school every morning for some time prior to that, and it seemed to help them and me go into the day positively and with courage. So one day, I had my daughter “call Dad and ask him if he wanted to pray with us.” That started a family ritual I wouldn’t trade for the world.
It started off very simply with a couple of prayers my mom used to pray with me in the mornings. As we prayed together, however, we kept adding. First it was a prayer one daughter had to memorize for school, then one another was working on. Then I added one that was always my favorite but very few people say anymore. We are now up to seven prayers of varying length.
Over the summer we obviously don’t go to school, so our prayer time evaporated. However, we kept up the tradition on the way to church with all of us in the van. At the end of the prayers, we say, “One, two, three… WE LOVE YOU, DADDY!” My six-year-old started echoing (for no reason I ever understood), “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…” BIG BREATH… “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…” which always cracks everyone up. One morning he started adding, “And it never gets old.”
It’s funny how something repeated in your mind and heart gets stamped there so you never forget.
The other night on the way to one of the evenings with family following our loss, I knew my husband needed some encouragement, so I simply started, “Saints and angels, gather ’round. Three to watch, two to pray, three to chase bad things away. Dear Jesus, be with us today, guide us, protect us, keep us, help us, and love us. Amen.” Three words in, everyone joined me. By the time we got to “One, two, three, we love you, Daddy,” I was praising and thanking Jesus for giving us a way to pray together that brought comfort and good thoughts.
That’s what praying together should be. Yes, there is room for spontaneous prayer by one. I love that kind too. But it really is nice to have some prayers that you can say together, all at the same time. Even when you get some words confused or backward, as I do with one of the prayers. My oldest thinks that is quite funny that Mom can’t even say that one right.
I highly recommend finding a time, even if it’s over the cell phones in the morning to pray together. The times you need it most are the times you will be glad you made the effort.
NOTICE: Staci will be having a booksigning Saturday, Aug. 15 in Silverton, TX from 10-4. If you’re in the vacinity (i.e. between Dallas and Perryton 🙂 stop on by. I would love to meet you!