"What you doin' Mommy? What you doin'?" my inquisitive son asks a little too loudly as he scrambles up the chair beside me. Small hands reach forward and grab my cheeks, pulling and pinching my face until we are eye to eye, foreheads touching, "What you doin' Mommy?"
We were in chapel and I had noticed the girl at the end of our row crying during worship. My heart went out to her and I wanted to encourage with a soft hand on the shoulder and kind words spoken in prayer. But life is different now with my bouncy little boy dancing and clapping to the music beside me. Any encouragement I could offer this stranger would be seconds short and awkwardly interrupted. Looking around to the people standing near I had hoped someone would see her.
But no one else does. They are lost in worship while she cries alone.
Knowing I will only have a few seconds I walk to her, reach out, and begin to pray. I feel her shoulders slump and shake with deep sobs.
Little hands now grabbing, pulling, my prayer interrupted. "What you doin' Mommy?" Isaiah asks."I'm praying for this lady. Do you want to pray for her too?" He decides he will and smiling says "Pray this lady. Amen."
I walked back to my seat a bit disheartened that I couldn't spend longer praying with this girl.
A little later that day I spotted the activity book that I'm using with Isaiah. The title is "Teaching Children to Pray." The arts and crafts projects Isaiah and I had done together that week were all on based on a portion of James 5:16 "Pray for each other".
And then I see it, cleverly disguised hypocrisy hiding in plain sight. I want to teach my child to pray, but am not willing to do so other than by books, coloring pages, and bedtime prayers. Is this really what prayer is? Or is prayer connecting to God's heart and living by what you see and hear from Him? And if this kind of prayer, the kind that moves you to the end of the row to comfort a stranger, is the kind of prayer I want to teach, shouldn't I include my son?
Admittedly, this approach is difficult to manage, but I am willing. As I review next week's activity topic "He Cares for Me" I pray, Lord, bring opportunities to live this with Isaiah. Awkward or not, I want him to see and hear you in the everyday.