‘George, it’s your turn to ask the blessing,’ I reminded our son when we were seated at the dinner table. The nine-year-old’s eyes grew wide with panic. He looked at me pleadingly, shaking his head.
Reluctantly, he stammered and stumbled, self-conscious and unprepared.
Suddenly, I realised I had been too busy to teach him how to pray—too busy even for bedtime prayers, something our two older children had taken for granted. I knew it was time to provide George with the training he needed to be comfortable praying.
George responded happily to the idea of praying together each bedtime. He suggested I pray first and I was thankful for the opportunity to set an example for him
One evening when I was tired and anxious, my thoughts wandered as George began his prayer, but his words grabbed my attention. He prayed for a young neighbour who had broken his leg in a bicycle accident, for Susie whose cat had run away and for his older brother to return safely from a weekend trip. Then he thanked God for helping him do his best at soccer practice. These were things that were important and serious in his world.
The next time George came down with a cold, I applied all the usual cold remedies, gave him a loving squeeze and turned to leave.
‘Mum,’ he called after me, ‘will you pray for me to feel better?’
A few weeks later, George accidentally scratched the surface of his eye and had to go to the doctor. After treating the wound, the doctor covered his eye with a patch and told us it would take three or four days to heal.
That night at bedtime, his father prayed for the healing of George’s eye and the discomfort he was feeling. In the middle of the night, we were awakened by George calling from the hallway outside our bedroom door, ‘My eye is better, Dad!’ That was all. He turned and sleepily stumbled back to bed.
The next morning, we removed the eye patch to find that the scratch, clearly visible the day before, had disappeared. A trip to the doctor verified that it was completely healed, and we returned home, scarcely believing what had happened. But George had no trouble believing.
‘I told you it was better. You know Dad prayed for me.’
While the doctor and nurses had played their parts, prayer and faith were also major contributors.
Like George, I’ve learned to become bolder in my prayers. I know God doesn’t always answer prayer in the ways I would hope, but my son has taught me that God is interested in the details of my life.
Recently, when it was George’s turn to ask another dinner blessing, he responded eagerly. I blinked back tears of joy and gratitude as I listened to him talking to God as to a dear friend.
This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Faith and Friends.