One special way that Rowyn surprises me and my family is her ability to communicate with Jesus. My parents babysat her this past weekend, and when they brought her back home they were so excited to let me know, “Rowyn prays! She is thankful and shares those things out loud!” And I simply just smiled and said, “Yep!”
We all know a good bedtime routine is important, and ours started with my husband and I trying to establish some type of normal for Rowyn. We would pray simple prayers of thanks when we put her in her crib, and as soon as she could talk, she started joining us by adding in the names of people she was thankful for.
It’s simple really, I close my eyes and say, “Thank you Jesus for…” and she jumps in! “Mommy! Daddy! Rama (grandma). Tapa (grandpa). Tol (my sister Nicole). Ian. Michael. Eli. Jack.” She lists the names of people or experiences that have been important to her. Mommy and Daddy always make the list, and normally most of her family or friends, too. Once she is done, I add in a few small experiences that we are grateful for that day.
And thank you Jesus for our warm home, for a chance to play outside in the leaves today, and please help Rowyn to sleep really well and know she is never alone because You are always with her.
We do the same thing at meals to help her establish a habit of thankfulness: we hold hands, ask her what she is thankful for, and then close by thanking God for the food we have to eat.
One moment that will stay with me was when she asked to pray for a friend who had a difficult time in their class in kidmax. We were going through the bedtime stuff that Sunday, “Thank you Jesus for...” and she said, “Ella sad. Kidmax.”
So I stopped and asked her, “Do you want to pray for Ella? Do you want to ask Jesus to help Ella be happy at kidmax?”
“No” is her typical answer, so I know when she said yes that she meant it. We prayed for Ella, and it was incredible to know that before she was even a year-and-a-half old, she was sensitive to others and wanted to ask Jesus to help her friend. Wow.
A few months ago, I was given the idea of making a prayer jar with her. We found an empty jar, got some thick, colourful popsicle sticks, and wrote the names of all her family and friends on their own stick. Into the jar they went. Done. I might get her to help me decorate it more when she is older but for now, that’s it. We pull it out after story time each night. She totally reminds us if we forget to use the prayer jar, and normally we have to pull out every name and pray specifically for each person. We still do the “thank-you Jesus” prayer once she is in bed, but the prayer jar has become special to her as well.
Rowyn has so much potential and seems only to be limited by my tiredness or lack of creativity but, nonetheless, she is learning to be thankful. She is learning to have conversations with Jesus. I don’t know what a toddler’s understanding of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is, but for now we pray and encourage her to join us in that daily.
And she can definitely pray.