Rev. Jenn McDowell, director of Faith Formation 8z, -Nurture, shares some ideas on how you can share the discipline of prayer with your children, even during the seemingly mundane parts of our days.
Years ago my mentor gave me a book called My Monastery is a Minivan by Dennis Roy. He gave it to me saying “you could have written this book.” Like many moms I lived in my car when the boys were young- driving them back and forth to school, church activities, and soccer practice. The difference was that I was also in Seminary so there was always a stack of theology books on my front seat for me to read in between activities. These prompted questions from friends and strangers alike which resulted in many of hours of conversations about faith. These conversations were rich and rewarding, but not nearly as cherished as the conversations and prayer time I shared with the boys in my car.
Every morning we prayed on our way to school to prepare us for the day. I blessed them with the symbol of the cross on their forehead when I dropped them off saying, “God bless you and keep you.” Every afternoon we prayed on the way home thanking God for all we had learned and been blessed by. I also taught them to pray when we saw or heard an ambulance, fire truck, or police car. Sometimes our prayers led to conversations about God’s presence in our lives and in the world, sometimes they didn’t. They were always simple, honest prayers from our hearts. We didn’t need big, fancy words- sometimes we didn’t use words at all-only God was listening.
I don’t share this to brag- honestly, I doubt if the boys would remember these times in the car if you were to ask them today, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I know that those moments blessed us, brought us closer and gave us the strength to be more calm, loving, and patient with one another as the daily challenges of being a family confronted us and it didn’t take but a few moments of intentionality when we weren’t really doing anything else anyway.
With so many things in our lives working to pull us apart, why not let your drive time bring you together?