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Be Careful Where You Pray

Be Careful Where You Pray

The sad truth is that we all have things to confess in prayer. Some of us more often than others, but at the end of the day, all of us have little indiscretions to discuss with the Lord.

Now, we are not Catholic, but apparently my children are confused about this.

You see, all three of them seem to be under the impression that they need to confess sins in prayer while in the presence of their little friends. It’s like they have to confess to a priest.

Oh, and one other little thing I forgot to mention:

They think they are supposed to confess EACH OTHER’S sins, not their own. They are taking the role of priest because they are quite happy to bring the sins of their sisters before the Throne and speak with Him on their behalf.

It would be quite touching if I were not so acutely aware of their more sinister motivations. They are not just concerned for the state of their sister’s relationship with God. Oh, no. This is nothing less than an all out game of “truth or dare” disguised as a prayer. Only in this game, the poor sister being prayed for does not get to choose whether she will tell the truth or take the dare. Everything she’s ever done is laid bare for God and everyone around the table to hear about.

I saw it again just last weekend.

You see, being the supermom that I strive to be, I bought tickets to take the girls to see the play “Rapunzel” downtown.

I was quickly informed by my oldest daughter that she already knew that story and did not want to go. Well, so much for supermom. I can’t even find a play everyone wants to see.

Then the youngest one was despairing over the fact that she’d have to wear this ridiculous Cinderella dress because we didn’t have a Rapunzel dress. It was almost more than she could bear.


I then told my middle daughter that she could invite a friend to join us. She was ecstatic at this idea and had her decision made in an instant. She wanted me to call her best friend, Belle, who sits right next to her in kindergarten.

Fast forward five days and ten thousand times of answering how many more days until the play and it was finally time to go. The girls were so excited and dressed up and couldn’t wait to get there.

We had a wonderful time and went out for a fancy dinner at Five Guys afterward.

Being the very well-mannered and spiritually conscious children that they are, my youngest very energetically volunteered to pray before we ate our health conscious meal of burgers and fries.

Warmed my heart. Few things are sweeter than hearing your small child talking to God.

Things started out alright. She thanked God for the fun day and for Rapunzel and for squirrels and for Belle.

Ahh, listen to that. She’s just precious. I could almost picture the face of Jesus smiling upon her as He listened.

The prayer then began to focus on the less holy moments of our day.

She freely confessed her own wrongdoings. These included accidentally hitting her sister, accidentally forgetting not to say stupid, and eating jelly beans when she forgot Mommy said no.

But then, she quickly turned the confessional spotlight onto her big sister, who was still sitting with her eyes squeezed shut and holding a french fry in midair.

Oh, she was thorough.

She was determined to lay it all out there for the Lord. It was almost as if she were giving last rites and wanted to make totally sure her sister could meet God with a clear conscience.

She covered the time her sister had hit her that day, how her sister fussed when Mommy asked her to make up her bed, the moment when her sister stomped up the stairs because she couldn’t eat ice cream for breakfast, and even shared her sister’s ongoing struggle with beating her habit of needing pull ups at night, earnestly pleading with Jesus for His help.

Big sister was NOT pleased at this point.

I had to do something.

She was bound to turn her attention to other members of the family at any moment.

I certainly did not want our little guest to hear about how their Mommy…well…I’ve already confessed it and don’t need to mention my failures here.

I cleared my throat loudly, said “Amen”, and quickly thanked my child for her heartfelt prayer.

So, next time you ask your child to pray, be ready, mothers. You never can tell what may come up in the course of their conversation with God.

Now I know why lots of families just stick to the tried and true prayer song, “God our Father we give thanks for our many blessings. Amen.” Short, sweet, to the point, and not likely to reveal the last time you lost your temper and threw your plastic cup hard enough to break it on the the tile floor. Not me, mind you. Someone I know.



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