Praying – AdventPhotos (2015#23)

22 12 2015

Traditions are a big part of the Advent and Christmas seasons. Certain practices, foods, decorations – any number of things that mark this time of the year. Those things that it seems like the season would be incomplete without. I do think however, that some traditions, some touch-points are bigger and go beyond this one season of the year.  
One of my earliest recollections of spiritual life is the memory of family prayer. My parents would begin each day with a time of audible prayer. They would kneel at the couch and chair in the living room, and simultaneously pray aloud for probably 5 minutes or so. Lifting their praises and their petitions; interceding for various family, friends, church members, and always my brother Jason and I. When you’re a toddler, that seems like it takes approximately 14 hours. Jason would wait for them to start, and promptly sneak into the other room to play with the kitchen set. Morning family prayer was very much a tradition (or discipline in church-speak) in our home. The day felt weird, incomplete without that as the starting point. Once I became a patent myself, I knew one thing for sure; I knew that I wanted my kids to hear me praying for them at the start of each day. Not just telling them that I was praying for them, but making sure they heard the conversations I was having with God on their behalf. I knew how important it was, because I know how often as an adult I cling to the awareness that I have been prayed for, by name, this morning! I know it, because I heard it, every morning, for twenty years. And so, I prayed for my girls, at the start of the day, and I made them listen. I have to confess, there were some mornings, trying to juggle 5 people out the door, that it felt like I was stripping some gears to stop the madness, settle my spirit, and stand in the place of intercession before God. More than once, I had to apologize. The girls don’t hear me pray for them every morning anymore, but I hope they hold fast to the knowledge that I do. I hope they have taken into their adult lives the understanding that through prayer our heart, mind, emotions, schedule, relationships, needs, wants; our life, is brought to a place of surrendered preparation for the presence of our abiding Savior. I hope this tradition extends well beyond a block of days on the calendar, and is in fact, the way we prepare for every day of this life we are blessed to live.




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