Last night when Ava was saying her prayers, she got really silly and started thanking God for things that normally wouldn't be mentioned in prayers. She was trying to be funny, and giggling at herself all the while. I was not really amused, but just smiled through it all and waited for her to be finished, trying to think of the kindest way to suggest that her prayers be a little more serious.
Here's the thing about Ava: she is very much a creature of habit. For at least 3 years, she has said the exact same prayer, night after night:
"Dear God, thank you for this nice day. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Ava and Davis. Amen."
This from a child who can write very creative stories, but who does not like to deviate from her normal routine.
I have suggested many times that maybe she could think of something else to add. Something that happened in her day that she really liked. Or, something she would like to ask for God's help with. Those suggestions are always greeted with the same "hmph" - the sound Ava typically makes when one even slightly criticizes her. (She's a born diva).
So, last night, I decided it was time to put it all out there. After the silly prayer, I said, "You know, honey, God gave you a great sense of humor, and I'm sure He loves to see you being silly. But when we pray, that's a time to have a conversation with God, and I think it would be nice to take it a little more seriously." And then I reiterated what I have said before about being thankful or asking for help, or praying for a friend or someone else in need.
Well, that went over like a lead balloon. She immediately covered herself with her blanket and refused to talk any more about it. She's starting a drama class today, and I told her, "Your class isn't until tomorrow, so you might want to save the drama for that."
"It's not THAT kind of drama class!"
I decided it was too late to argue about it and just let it go. Then I turned to Google, and found an article on The Huffington Post that really resonated with me. In it, the writer, Joyce Meyer states:
"As a mother and grandmother, I think kids just need to understand the simplicity of prayer. It's asking God for what we need and believing He will do the best thing for us. It's talking to Him about people we care about, asking Him to help them. Prayer is asking God how to handle a problem we have and doing what He puts in our heart to do. They need to know they can tell God anything at all because He loves them no matter what. They need to realize they can talk to God like they would talk to their very best friend."
That pretty much sums up my thoughts exactly.
I was also thinking I'd like to start reading from a family or child's devotional. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd welcome them in the comments. I'm just fairly picky about the type of Christian instruction my kids get - no fire and brimstone business, please.