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The Laughing Mom PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan Pfaltzgraff   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 08:02

A living prayer

When I’m at church with my kids and someone says, “Let us bow our heads in prayer,” I break out in a cold sweat. The room goes silent. I take a long look at my angelic children, Alina and Melise, before I close my eyes.

The prayer leader speaks calmly with faithful contemplation, but before the first sentence is finished I feel Melise moving next to me. I want to set a good example for her, so I try to keep my eyes closed and concentrate on the prayer.

And yet, I’m not hearing the words being spoken because I’m worried about what Melise is doing. I open my eyes to peek at her. She is looking around at the other people praying.

“Close your eyes and pray.” I whisper. She squishes her whole face up and slaps her hands together. I’m not quite sure if she’s being comical on purpose or by accident. I close my eyes again and try to catch up with the prayer.

Oh yes, we are praying for the hospitalized and home-bound—I try to really add my wishes for their health. But then I feel Alina wiggling in my arms and hear something rustle. I open my eyes to see that her little hands have grasped one of the offering envelopes and she’s trying to eat it. I attempt to multi-task by closing my eyes again in prayer and simultaneously wrestle the envelope away from her.

As soon as I get the envelope away, Alina lets out a high-pitch protest. I start shushing her and bouncing. Several people around me turn to see who is pinching the baby. I smile sheepishly and do the only thing I know to quiet Alina quickly—breastfeed her! Immediately she is silent and everyone forgets about us. I sigh and close my eyes.

My eyes fly open again as I realize that Melise was not sitting next to me during Alina’s outburst. Looking both this way and that, I finally see her, sitting on the floor digging through my purse. I close my eyes, yet again, and throw out a quick prayer of my own that whatever Melise pulls out of my purse won’t injure her or cause irreversible damage to church property.

Suddenly, I hear the prayer leader say, “Amen.” I breathe a sigh of relief.

Then Melise shouts, “Amen!” I shrink lower in my seat as everyone chuckles.

My strongest motivation to go to church is my children. But sometimes I wonder if I’m insane since my children make going to church so hard!

There is an annual event that reminds me why I take my kids to church—Vacation Bible School. At VBS, all the kids sing songs with dance moves or sign language. Can you guess what the preschool age kids do during the songs?

They do all the wrong moves and look the wrong way and hardly get any of the words right! But they dance with enthusiasm and joy that most of us leave out during our praise.

At Melise’s very first VBS experience, I watched her throw her arms out in a spontaneous, non-choreographed spin in the midst of “How Great Thou Art” and I knew her whole heart was in that dance. She didn’t need any words to pray in that moment because she was living it. I felt the spirit move in me in that moment. I probably won’t be doing any spinning at church ... but maybe I can take a little lesson from Melise’s version of prayer and loosen up a bit!

Holyoke Enterprise July 12, 2012