Where were you on March 25, 2012? Can’t remember?
I was doing what any self-respecting, ravenous, college basketball junkie was doing that day – watching the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. And I didn’t just flip on the tube and watch from my couch, I was there in person watching my alma mater play. March 25, 2012 turned out to be a pretty memorable day…but not because of basketball. My team got shellacked. Something else made me remember that day, something unexpected.
We were midway though our dinner back at home that evening when I heard, in the midst of other conversation at the table, some very familiar words spoken by a familiar, small voice. It was one of those moments that usually only happens in the movies, the kind of moment when the noise of a crowd melts away and you are left with a singular, clear speech.
“Thy Kingdom come…(everything goes quiet) thy will be done…on Earth as it is in…Heaven.” My two-year-old son was reciting The Lord’s Prayer.
Naturally, we let him draw the prayer to its end so we could:
1) make sure he knew the whole thing
2) figure out how to respond to what just happened
When he finished the prayer—the whole thing, verbatim—everyone at the table (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, babysitter) was blown away. The spontaneity caught us all off guard. How did he learn The Lord’s Prayer? Where and when did he learn it? I was at a loss.
It turns out he learned to say the Lord’s Prayer during chapel at preschool. My son attends twice a week at a local church, and every Thursday they close out chapel with the Lord’s Prayer.
Isn’t it amazing how preschoolers can absorb information? All it takes is a little repetition. Admittedly, I wish I had been the one to teach him but I’ve come to the realization that oftentimes other adults, like teachers or small group leaders, can have more influence than parents. Suffice it to say that I am grateful for the teachers at his pre-school who taught him the model prayer and reinforced it throughout the year. And I am thankful for the SGLs in his life who also took the time to pray with him weekly.
I want my son to be comfortable talking to his Creator. I want him to see it as part of his daily life, whether private or in public, before bed or when he wakes up. Spiritually speaking, I’m not sure there’s anything more important than praying.
I guess I shouldn’t end this post without bringing the story to its full conclusion. My son ended up getting to recite the Lord’s Prayer from stage, with a microphone, at the year-end assembly for his preschool. I was as blown away watching him pray publicly as I was that very first time at the dinner table. But I won’t forget that I heard it first on March 25, 2012.