“If God had a refrigerator, it would be plastered with all our clumsy little prayers.”
(heard today on radio…)
Meet my first-grader’s prayer table.
I had absolutely nothing to do with this. It was his teacher who put in his mind the importance of carving out a place to pray. Once the idea was in motion, there was no stopping him. He found the table, asked if he could move it to a new location, moved it, found a stool for sitting, and began putting all the pieces into place — two Rosaries (one with case, one without), two Bibles (one child’s, one adult) and two bookmark/prayer cards (one St. Francis, one Padre Pio).
I love how my children teach me just as much (or more) as what I teach them, especially in matters of faith. I love their questions and how their sponge-like brains easily absorb matters of the supernatural, and how willing they are to don their super-x-ray faith goggles so that they might see the world as God does. It seems that easy for them, in moments.
When our children pray for someone, that person is in good hands. The prayers of children are powerful prayers. It’s almost as if the older we get, the more distant we become from our Creator, the harder we have to work to find our way back. But children — they’re still under the shelter of His arms. And they’re not looking to go too far too fast.
This week, I’ve been reminded that it’s all about relationship. The day after this prayer table went up, I took some extra steps to carve out time for my friend Vicky. We’d been working on this for a while and I’m thrilled it finally panned out to meet, to enjoy a pumpkin-spice latte together, to catch up on everything that’s happened in our lives since our last visit. I left our meeting feeling like my life had been added to because of my friend’s presence.
If we can take time for friends, how much more do we need to carve out space for our relationship with The One to whom we owe it all?
We don’t have to pray perfectly. We don’t even need a prayer table (though it’s a nice way to welcome a guest, wouldn’t you say?). God will accept our prayers no matter how unrefined they might be — just like those pieces of artwork our children bring to us out of love. They might think they’re presenting us with an imperfect picture, but we see it differently. We see it as “frame-worthy,” beautiful enough to take up space on our refrigerator.
That’s how God sees our prayers. Our words to God are sprinkled with gold, no matter the circumstances or form of our words, or even if we’re talking at all. Sometimes, praying with the heart is enough. The important thing is that we do it. Somehow or some way, we need to carve out a space for dialogue with the life-giving Light, without Whom we would wither.
On another faith-related note, Tuesday was the Feast Day of St. Francis, which meant our school’s annual pet blessing. Yes, even our furry friends have something to say about the mind of God, and in the case of Snickers (one of the most rambunctious of the pets in the courtyard that day), perhaps something about God’s sense of humor as well.
Q4U: Where is your favorite prayer space?
About the Author
Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, N.D., is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer who also enjoys Catholic radio hosting and speaking. Roxane co-authored former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino’s memoir, Redeemed by Grace. Her work is featured on "Peace Garden Passage" at her website, roxanesalonen.com