The cousins have come for a visit, played all morning, and now it’s time to eat. As usual we will pause for grace but on this day Grandma has an extra idea. “Everyone come in here first,” she says, ” I want to talk to you about prayers.” We all gather around the worn wood coffee table, just the shape for circling. For the benefit of the younger ones she explains that prayer is not just a list of things we want but that when we pray the first order of business is to give thanks; to take time in awe of our Creator; to thank Him for His gifts and grace. Then, if we have a request to speak it out after the thanking. But how should we finish? She goes on to say that the act of praying is the act of coming before the very throne of God and, just like on Earth, to enter a place that is special you need a ticket. Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross is that ticket for us, so we end our prayers with “in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Mostly attentive ears follow all of this and to practice we each take a turn praying for the person to our right. The prayers are short, sweet coming from the lips of children, but mostly predictable until Lyssa’s turn arrives.
“Dear god, Thank you for Cousin J. That he is nice to me and he’s my best friend … Her voice continues and takes on a poetic songlike quality. Her hands even flutter ballet-esque. Finally, nothing more to say she pauses, then quite suddenly, realizing her work is incomplete, she quickly adds, “And here’s my ticket.”