Ever since Allyson said a prayer on her own for the first time--the time she prayed for her lost puppy Allum--she's developed quite an eagerness about praying. She wants to say all the dinner prayers, much to Ethan's dismay since she's rather long winded. She wants to say her own bedtime prayers, too, though she still wants me to pray afterward.
She both amuses and inspires me with her requests. About a week ago, the night before her third ballet and tap lesson, Allyson surprised me by praying about her brush step. Instead of asking God to help her master the step, which is what seemed logical to me, she said, "Please help me like my brush step!"
She had been very frustrated with this step, in which she is supposed to lightly brush her foot in an arc from front to back. Her first efforts were hilarious; all she did was stamp her foot as if she was trying to crush a cockroach. When I tried to get her to practice at home, she wanted nothing to do with it.
So when she prayed about the brush step, I couldn't resist suggesting, "You know, Allyson, you could also practice your brush step. I'm sure Jesus will help you with it, but you can do your part by practicing."
"No," she replied, cheerfully oblivious to my bossing. "Some people practice and some people just pray for Jesus to help them."
"Mmm-hmm.... Well, good night," I said.
At class the next afternoon, I began to wonder whether she was onto something. I couldn't believe the improvement in her brush step. What was most impressive, though, was the fact that she was clearly enjoying herself!
I've decided that I can learn from her example. Maybe when I struggle with deadlines at work, I should stop asking God to help me get the work done and start asking him to help me LIKE the work. If I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm bound to do it with passion and enthusiasm, and I bet I'll also stay more focused instead of wallowing in boredom as I so often do. I can't wait to try it out!
A Welcome Interruption
Another area where Allyson is growing is in her love of scripture. A couple of times recently, she woke up early and interrupted my quiet time. For some reason, instead of putting away my Bible and setting aside my prayers for later, I decided to include her. Using a sheet I got at Bible study, I was praying Psalm 139 over each of my family members, and I invited her to pray with me. "Oh Lord, you have searched Daddy and you know him," we prayed. "You know when he sits down and when he rises. You know his thoughts when he travels and when he rests at home...."
I expected her to lose interest since it's a rather long psalm, but she loved it. "Let's do Ethan," she said, and then, "Let's pray for you, too, Mommy." The fourth time, we prayed the psalm over her.
Off and on since that morning, she's requested "the Bible study prayer" at bedtime. It takes a long time to pray Psalm 139 four times!
One morning this week, Allyson woke early again, and I immediately invited her to share my quiet time. As I practiced my memory passages on the couch, she snuggled against me under a fluffy blanket and listened intently. When I got to Psalm 139--in a slightly different translation than the one we had prayed--she yelled, "Hey! That's our Bible study prayer!" She obviously felt the same excitement that I feel each time I run across one of my special passages.
After I finished all the passages, I set the little business cards on the desk and went to my room to get dressed. A couple of minutes later, I found Allyson in front of the desk muttering to herself. Moving closer, I saw that she was flipping through my memory cards as if she were reading them. I realized with a start that she was quoting Psalm 139--quite accurately! "If we go up to heaven, you are there," she said. "If we go down to the grave, you are there.... You have laid your hand on us."
"Hey, you're quoting our Bible study psalm!" I said, utterly thrilled. "That's wonderful, Allyson."
I'm so excited to see my little girl growing into a woman of God! And I'm so thankful that God woke her up so she could "interrupt" my quiet time.