As a pastor I hear it frequently: I don’t know how to pray.
As a mom I hear it frequently: I don’t know how to pray.
Usually, following those remarks, I also hear how much the person desires to have more of a prayer life.
But they never know where to start.
Or what to do.
Or their schedules are full.
Or the kids need to be shuttled back and forth to practice.
Or the family needs to eat.
We all have the same amount of time each day, but the minutes seem to pass quickly, especially when you have kids. As a mom of two I’m learning how to pray differently.
Less with words and silence and more with attentiveness.
Yes, we say bedtime prayers and bless one another. We recite the Lord’s Prayer together. We pray “Come, Lord Jesus” before our meals. But we also pray in so many more ways. In much deeper and more tangible ways.
With a toddler and a baby, we find ourselves together on the floor. The baby will be on his back and the toddler will be right next to him. Hugging him. Holding him. Kissing him. If I get too distracted I’ll miss it, the prayers of love and acceptance. The prayers of holding tight and not letting go. The prayers of being held.
Song and Dance
It didn’t take too long for my toddler to figure out how to change the CD in our player. I’ll leave the room for a minute and hear the sounds of music. From Broadway to kidsongs to Pentatonix, my toddler keeps the music flowing. If I get too distracted I’ll miss it, the prayers of joyful noises. The prayers of feeling a beat and moving bodies without a care of how we look.
There’s nothing quite like being greeted by an excited toddler. My daughter will jump and shout and cheer when we come home. Her joy palpable. She greets us with a smile and hug.
If I get too distracted I’ll miss it, the prayers of sheer joy. The prayers of greeting with smiles and acceptance. The prayers of knowing that someone is always waiting for us.
High-Fives and Fist Bumps
We’re a family that believe in high fives and fist bumps. Whether potty training, having a good day at work, cooking a good dinner, or cleaning up all the toys, we give high fives and fist bumps. We celebrate with one another in the simple and grand moments of our days. If I get too distracted I’ll miss it, the prayers of believing in one another. The prayers of lifting one another up. The prayers of seeing everyone as worthy of praise.
These are just a glimpse into the vastness of prayer. This is our family’s way of recognizing the holy in our midst. Every day. In every moment. My prayer for you is that as you go about your days you, too, will see God’s presence and see everyday moments as prayer.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/