I remember staring at a placard years ago, while in a Christian bookstore. It read, "There is no greater joy than to know my children walk with the Lord."
This was before I had children, but the sign interested me enough to pick it up, and I wondered at the words. I bought it, tucking it away along with the hope in my heart, that one day I would be a mother. On the way out of the store, I thought how wonderful it would be if my children shared my faith with me, how nice if they grew up with something bigger than just me as a parent. I knew I would find gratitude in that, but the joyful part, I had no point of reference. Still, the words on the plaque had grabbed ahold of me, and I couldn't let go.
Time has now found me now the mother of three boys.
Our mornings are always the same: to have breakfast, get dressed and washed up, and then we all walk to the front room window, the one that faces the sunrise, and we kneel to pray. One of our three sons will take his turn pulling out a biblical verse card that I have printed out in my own handwriting, making the words mentally accessible to them. I've chosen simple verses, and underneath, I have written a small example of why this verse is one I feel important for them to know.
They have never squawked at this routine, they have never refused to nor questioned why we do this every morning. After they each pick up their breakfast dishes, we automatically head to the front room, where we bend down on our knees, and we begin our prayer. When we finish, I hug each of them, and whisper, "God bless you in your day."
We all do this without thinking, it's as natural as brushing our teeth and making the bed. It is our morning preparation for the day. It doesn't matter if we are late, have run out of time, or are not in a good mood. We kneel together, and pray, everyday.
Last summer, I had to have minor surgery done. I was sleeping downstairs on the sofa during this time, to avoid going up and down to our bedroom upstairs. One morning, right after the surgery, as I was laying sleepily on the sofa, our 3 boys came down, had breakfast, got washed up, and began to prepare for their day. I wanted to get up and remind them to pray, but I was groggy from the pain medication I had taken the night before. I kept wanting to say something, but I felt too weary. I watched them through half closed lids, and slowly began to fall back asleep. I could hear my oldest son tell his two brothers to pick up the dishes, and get ready for the day. Then, I saw three shadows, one following the next, in a line, walking, headed to the large front room window. I saw them all stand in front of the window, stop together, then they knelt down.
The oldest reached for the box of verses, and handed the verse card to the middlest, who then read the passage slowly enough for the youngest to understand. At the end, I heard them pray for "mama's healing."
They finished, brushed off their knees as they stood up, and began with their day.
What I had just seen them do, on their own, without a reminder from me, left me speechless. Tears spilled out of my eyes and my heart felt it could burst with the blessing of my children.
My children had grown to have prayer be a part of their life. A rock solid foundation, that got them through any doubt or fear. Prayer was not an obligation to them, prayer was communication. Prayer wasn't something that their mother and father made them do, prayer was something that had grown into a natural, effortless part of their life.
I smiled, my heart singingas the words from the placard I had seen so many years ago came in a rush to my mind, "There is NO greater joy than to know my children walk with the Lord."