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Lectio Divina out loud: In teaching her kids to pray, Erika Dix learns that prayer is more than just the words.

Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2) 


When my kids were little, and we were teaching them how to say their nightly prayers, we decided to start with the basics. Each night they would pray for one thing they were grateful for and one thing they were sorry for (that they did, not what was done to them) from that day. When they got the hang of that, we added in asking for a blessing for something or someone that they felt needed extra help. Then we would all say the “Our Father” prayer together. So each night the prayer “script” would go something like this:  

“I’m grateful for …”  

“I’m sorry for …”  

“I want to bless …”  


When I was helping to create the “script,” I really felt strongly that the “grateful” needed to go first. It needed more importance, more thought. Gratitude is powerful. In the Scripture passage I was meditating on, “thanksgiving” is an integral part of prayer. It is part of the action of the prayer, not just something to say. Our whole prayer can be steeped in gratitude, not just by thinking the words, but feeling them.  




“Being watchful” also brings to mind a feeling of being careful. So not only is gratitude important, but it also affects the attitudes we are bringing to our prayer. How are we feeling when we start to pray? Are we distracted, annoyed, frustrated, happy, peaceful, sorrowful? Would feeling grateful for something change our attitudes before we even start to add in our sorrys and favors?  

The next time I pray with my kids, who are teenagers now, I will see if we can not only say what we are grateful for, but also pay attention and be watchful for how our attitude is. If we do not feel it, do we really mean it?  


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Our whole prayer can be steeped in gratitude, not just by thinking the words, but feeling them.


Prayer: Lord, I’m grateful for having You by my side, and listening to my prayers. I’m sorry for the times that I don’t feel gratitude while I’m praying. I want to bless all those who are reading this prayer, so they can be watchful for gratitude in their thoughts and prayers.  



Copyright 2023 Erika Dix
Images: Canva