Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sadie and Jesus Again: Prayer and Dental Hygiene

Two things that Sadie loves to do are pray and brush her teeth.

When Jason was putting a decorative fence around our tomato plants two weeks ago, Sadie clasped her hands and bowed her head and said, "Let's pray." She proceeded to lead us in a prayer of thanksgiving for our home and our family and our tomato plants.

Last night, in the middle of dancing around the living room with Mom and Dad, Sadie stopped and said, "I want to pray." Clasped hands and bowed head and a prayer of thanksgiving for "Mama and Daddy and me" followed.

So many times, before doing anything, from reading a book to eating a piece of candy, Sadie wants to "pray first."

Sadie is also constantly stealing into the bathroom and grabbing her toothbrush or my toothbrush and brushing her teeth. She's very proud of her small, white "chompers," and loves to show them off at every opportunity.

The cool thing about her two latest obsessions is that they are both very, very good for her and are hardly ever inappropriate. Can a child brush her teeth too often? Oh, probably . . . but I do not think Sadie goes overboard by brushing 3-4 times a day. Can a person pray too often? I do not think so. About five years ago, I awoke in the morning with the imperative "Pray without ceasing" placed upon my heart. This command was seared into my being, and, while I have certainly fallen short of pure obedience, it serves as a constant tether from God's heart to mine. If I stray too far from His purpose, it gives me a little pull and draws me back onto my knees.

Two schools of thought seem to exist on the ritual of prayer. The first I shall call the "C.S. Lewis School." Clive thought that it was very important to kneel while praying - "The body ought to pray as well as the soul. Body and soul are both the better for it. . . .The relevant point is that kneeling does matter. . ." - although not the most important thing - " . . .but other things matter even more. A concentrated mind and a sitting body make for better praying than a kneeling body and a mind half asleep. (The Joyful Christian by C.S. Lewis, pg. 89-90)" The second I shall call the "Ronald Reagan School." In this school, prayer is "all the time and anywhere. 'Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, if you want to pray you pray.' (When Character Was King by Peggy Noonan, pg. 98)"

I think that I tend to mix both schools, both setting aside formal times for communion with the Most High, but also, through the boldness granted by trust in my Savior, calling on God at a moment's notice. I find that a quick prayer for strength or guidance, particularly in the midst of a stressful family situation, helps me to focus on Him instead of myself, and this "stepping back" grants immeasurable peace. I know that this privilege of prayer has helped to keep me from saying or doing things to the people I love that I would later regret. The adage holds true: We don't pray to change God, but to let God change us.

More and more, as I grow in this blessed faith given to me ten years ago, I want only to live these words penned by Keith Green:

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise

Keith Green, circa 1982 (from Make My Life a Prayer by Keith Green, Harvest House Publishers, 2001)

To my Sadie-Bug: Keep on Little Prayer Warrior. I love watching you grow and learn about the Lord. He Who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it . . .

I hope you are always 100% cavity-free - in your teeth and in your soul.
Peace to all!

1 comment:

Amigo said...

It is a great pleasure and inspiration to see that you are bringing your daughter up to love God.

Based on your side bar on Canada, I really should try to have a better attitude towards our neighbor to the north.