4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7
“Gracious God.” That’s how their prayers at dinner always begin. It’s their pastor-mama’s go-to phrase for opening a prayer, and they have long since picked it up by osmosis. “Gracious God,” they say, hands folded, dinner on the table before them.
They may have picked up “Gracious God” from me, but what they say next is completely theirs, completely original. And church, I have to tell you… sometimes what they say next leaves this pastor-mama trying to stifle a laugh.
Ellie’s prayers in particular often make me laugh.
“Gracious God,” she prayed at dinner a few months ago, “thank you for this food… and if we don’t like it, we can get something else. Amen.” (That particular prayer may have been directed more to me than to God.)
“Gracious God,” she prayed even more recently, “we will help God every day. And we will try to learn about God’s opinions.” (Some might say “commandments.” For Ellie, they’re apparently just “opinions.”)
This week, as my children prayed, I wasn’t stifling a laugh. I was holding back a tear.
Ellie: “Gracious God, we wish we could go back to school and church. Help us to help God. Amen.”
Noah: “Gracious God, I miss my teachers a lot. Help us be able to go back to school soon. Love, Noah.”
I added my own whispered “amen” to their prayers. Amen. So be it. I imagine many of you would be quick to add your own “amens,” too. We long for things to go back to the way they were before we first heard the word “coronavirus.” We long for things to go back to “normal.”
And God longs to hear our longings. “In everything,” the apostle Paul writes, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, NRSV).
So let your requests be made known to God… whether you want to pray for something else for dinner, or pray to learn more about God’s “opinions,” or pray for things to go back to normal. God is listening, and longing to hear.
And as you pray to God, remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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