Parishioner and Vestry member Emily Bryan is our Guest Blogger this week, with a different approach to bedtime prayers.

“Hi God, it’s us again.”

That’s the opening to what has become one of my favorite bedtime prayers. We call it phone prayers; the time of day when we check in with God to tell him about our day. We talk about the things we’d like God to know, and wait for him to respond – just like in a regular phone call.

Phone prayers have been a natural bridge for our kids from memorized prayers to a more personal dialogue with God. Just like a call to the grandparents, the adults guide the conversation, and the kids jump in without hesitation to add their thoughts and the important details. Hearing what they want to share with God has given us insight into our kids’ perspectives on the world, their victories, and the things that trouble them.

Phone prayers sound something like this:

Hi God, it’s us again. We had a really good day today. The best part was getting to go to the swimming pool. The kids did an amazing job at swimming lessons!

[pause to listen*]

We had a little trouble today with remembering to be kind. We’re going to work hard tomorrow not to push each other when we are mad, and would love your help remembering to show each other love.

[pause to listen]

We had a great dinner tonight. But we know some kids don’t have enough to eat. Will you help them not feel hungry?

[pause to listen]

We love our grandparents and our aunts, uncles and cousins. We know you do, too. Will you watch over them, and all of our friends and all of the other people in the whole wide world?

[pause to listen]

We’re going to bed now, and hope you will send us good dreams. We love you, God, and will talk to you again soon. Good night!”  

What I like best about phone prayers is the built-in time to actively listen. Listening for God together gives us a chance to talk about discernment as a family. Does God really have an opinion about bedtime being too early, or sister’s dessert being bigger? Or is he talking to us by putting a comforting song in our minds, or reminding us of special moments from our days that we forgot to share? Are we really listening?

I like to call God when I’m in the car by myself. Give it a try sometime. You may be surprised by what He has to say.