Explaining how to pray is a tough concept for anyone, regardless of age. Explaining prayer to a toddler is even more challenging because there is no right answer. Prayer doesn’t have borders, and I don’t want to be the reason my children keep it within the lines. Prayer can be a conversation, a song, a dance, or even dedicating a run or walk outside for time with God.
When Elijah was old enough to join us at the dinner table, we started asking him to say one thing he was thankful for that day before we ate. We modeled this behavior so he would understand that we were thanking God for a blessing, big or small, within our day. He caught on quickly, and we’ve continued this tradition for every meal. It’s a great way to keep things positive and share a piece of our day. Once everyone around the table has said one thing they are thankful for, we say the Catholic “Prayer Before Meals”. Although Elijah usually names each member of our family as his thing to be thankful for that day, I love it when he says something specific to his day. “For time outside”, “For Grandma and Grandpa, “For riding on the tractor”. Absolutely, buddy. These are gifts, and I love knowing he recognizes them as something special that is worth mentioning.
How do you pray before meals? Have you adopted a tradition of praying with your family like you learned to pray?
If you don’t pray before meals, try this “thanksgiving” approach. It’s simple and starts the dinner with a positive spin. It also allows for follow-up questions during the meal if something is mentioned that you want to know more about from your family members.