Friday morning was contention-city in our home. Yelling, fighting, more yelling, rude remarks, etc. It was awful, to say the least. We were going to the park in the afternoon to see some of my family, and so when we got into the van, I told the kids to buckle up and fold their arms.
Surprisingly, they did.
I said the prayer. I thanked Heavenly Father for our home and blessings, etc. and then I asked for forgiveness. Not guilt-inducing "I'm only saying this out loud so the guilty parties will realize they are wrong and need to repent!" praying --I sincerely asked for forgiveness for all of us (oh, yes, I was very guilty of the contention). I asked for His help to be nice to each other and for the Spirit to guide us to be kind. When I finished praying I was shocked (seriously) at the silence in the van. The Spirit was there, the kids felt it, and we all kind of breathed a unified sigh of relief. The rest of the day was much, much, much better.
And this is why I get frustrated with our summer schedule and the lack of morning routines because morning prayer is always hit or miss.
As the "famous" (famous if you knew him and had him for Book of Mormon at BYU) Brother Benson said: "Morning prayer is the most neglected and the most important."
My maternal grandparents prayed every morning before breakfast. They would kneel as a family on the floor around the kitchen table. Whenever we visited, I got used to this practice --morning prayer before we leave for the day, before we partake of our first meal. I used to think it was annoying as a child (I was hungry!) and because of my parent's work schedule, we didn't pray at breakfast time --we prayed after scriptures an hour earlier (still counts, I know). Anyway, looking back, I am impressed. My grandparents knew how to start their day as a family.
My goal (one of five gajillion) is to get back to praying as a family first thing in the morning (or at least before we scatter for the day). We're very consistent about evening prayer before bed (family prayer), but we need to add morning back into the routine (along with family scripture study).
"Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor
As a shield today?
Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray."
LDS Hymn 140 (Text by Mary A. Pepper Kidder, 1820-1905)
P.S. Happiest of Birthdays to #5! He turned three years old yesterday. Love that kid!