“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen.”
Not to be too hard on my younger self, but this “prayer”, if you think about it, isn’t really a prayer, but two truthful statements followed by an exhortation to others to give thanks. But I guess it was close enough, and I’m sure I prayed it over a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches growing up.
Then there was my nighttime prayer. I’ll bet a lot of you know this one. With Mom and Dad next to me as I knelt at the bedside, I prayed…
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mommy and Daddy and me. God bless Grandma and Grandpa. Help me to be a good boy, and do what Mommy and Daddy tells me. Amen.”
As I remember, I continued to pray that one for quite a while even after my dear Grandma passed away. Mind you, I had no theology of prayer for the dead at age 7, but instead, I was just guilty of mindless prayer, even at that age. I don’t think Mom and Dad ever corrected me, but I don’t really know. Maybe they were daydreaming too, or maybe they thought I was missing Grandma.
There is another prayer that I remember from those growing up years. If the task wasn’t assigned to me with my “God is great…” prayer, Dad would generally pray at mealtimes. It went like this…
“Lord, we thank Thee for Thy food and Thy many blessings. Amen.”
I trusted Christ in 1982 and, as often happens, became the designated pray-er in the family because of my newfound faith. Dad became a Christian 4 years later, and though I couldn’t tell you when it first happened, I joyfully recall hearing my earthly father begin to truly pray to my Heavenly Father. This time it was no rote prayer…this time he was actually talking to God.