Dinner time was special in our house.
It was the time when everyone gathered.
When everyone ate.
And everyone visited.
We are a family of expert visitors.
Sometimes, the talk and laughter would go on for hours.
Long after the eating had finished.
It was the best part of our day.
And every dinner time began with prayer.
Thanksgiving for the food.
For the blessings of the day and every day.
For each other.
Our children had been raised with prayer at meal times.
It was as important as the food.
As soon as each of them began to speak, they had their turn.
Gently coached in the very earliest days.
Given their freedom as they got more proficient.
And kids can certainly pray.
Sometimes those prayers would go on for some time.
Blessing everything from their friends to their toys to their favourite TV programs.
It was . . . sweet.
And went by all too quickly.
Our kids are all grown up now.
With families of their own.
But prayer is still a big part of their lives.
And especially their mealtimes.
And the next generation is being carefully trained up.
Case in point:
Yesterday, our eldest daughter and her family were sharing the evening meal with my Husby and I.
Everyone sat down.
I looked around. “I think it's Baby girl's turn to say the prayer.”
I should point out, here, that this little girl is just learning to talk. Her vocabulary of decipherable words is . . . not extensive.
And this was her first opportunity to say the prayer.
Everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes.
Little arms were folded.
“Beloved Heavenly Father,” her mother began.
There was a pause as we all waited for the expected response.
The repetition of her mother's words.
Baby girl opened her mouth. “Eyes!” she said.
“We're thankful for our blessings,” her mother went on.
“Eyes!” Baby girl said louder, pointing to her mother.
“We're thankful for safety today.”
“Mama! Nose!” She was making progress.
“We're thankful for this wonderful food.”
“Mouf! (Something unintelligible) Mouf!”
“Please bless it to nourish us.”
“Eyes!” We were back to that.
“In the name of Jesus Christ . . .” her mother paused.
A chorus of 'Amen'.
Than another chorus of long-suppressed chuckles.
“Oh, Sweetheart, you said your first prayer!” I said. “You're such a big girl!”
Her words weren't 'right'.
But the food was well and truly blessed.
As were we.
A precious moment indeed.