Jean Newell, Associate Pastor, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
As I was growing up, my family always said grace before meals. I, in turn, taught the same grace to my children, and my children are passing the tradition on to their children. I remember when my daughter Dawn and her two young sons moved in with me. Her oldest son Sabastion was about four and a half at the time, and he almost had the prayer memorized. Not to be outdone by his older brother, Sebian, who was two and a half at the time, worked hard at learning the prayer. He didn’t know all the words, but those he knew he said loudly with enthusiasm!
God is gracious,
God is good,
thank you, God, for this food.
By His hands,
each must be fed,
give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen
Then one day, my daughter suggested I take a peek at Sebian as he prayed, because he was trying so hard to get the prayer right. He and Sabastion both had their eyes closed and their hands folded. Sabastion’s head was bowed down, but Sebian’s head was tilted up, and his eyes were squeezed shut, and his whole face was animated as he prayed. He may not have been able to say all the words clearly, but I believe God heard the words of his heart loud and clear!
That’s what praying is all about, isn’t it? Just talking to God? Scripture assures us that God “discern[s] my thoughts from far away” and “Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely” – Psalm 139:2&4. What a blessing that whether or not we give voice to the words of a prayer, God hears the prayers of our hearts!