Saying Grace…Lessons from a Child’s Prayer

Children running to the dinner table.  Finding their seat, it’s theirs for keeps.  No place card with flowing letters.  It is simply their place.

Tender hearts grown strong in the soil of knowledge, the Maker firmly holds hidden roots.

Their father and mother standing on a covenant bound in Christ, only death bringing separation.  Sun and rain, laughter and crying, joyful singing and silent anger, the family tree stands.  Children securely resting beneath the living canopy.

Hands outstretched around the table.  Entwined fingers, roots wrapping individuals into a beautiful life giving whole.  Roots held by the Maker.

Family leader asking who will pray, say grace.  Children begging for their turn.  Each knowing the treasure of talking with the One who gives, and even sometimes takes away.  He is worthy of praise.

A child intimately talking to their Father.  Thank you for spring, a mom who can cook.  Sorry I hit my sister.  Help my sick teacher.  I promise to try harder to obey my parents.  I know you will help us win our soccer game.

A list long, feeling unfettered.  Dinner bowls cooling.  Heads still bowed, hands holding tight.

Jesus asked for the little children, honesty and love flowing from open cisterns.  Not yet clogged with moving clock hands and pride.  He encircled small bodies with strong arms, gently rested hands on young heads.  Touching.  Loving.  Blessing.

He opened His arms to those with wide, grasping arms.  Their love unmatched by disciples with experience, but no compassion.

My Lord invites me for His blessing, enveloping love touching the deep places of my soul.  I must come like these small ones, like my own child with arms open grasping only Him.  Bread of Life exchanged for cold food made by my own hands.

Bringing my humble words to the Word of Life.  Saying grace…G R A C E, the letters spelling what He desires from me.

G…Gratefulness

R…Repentance

A…Asking

C…Commitment

E…Expectation

Gratefulness, simply telling my Father thank you.  He gives every day, even in packages seeming to hold only dirt.  Digging with grateful hands I find seeds.  Seeds buried in rich soil, now in shells one day springing to life.

Repentance, admitting the blackness of my sin without excuse.  Standing under the cleansing waterfall of Jesus’ blood, not trying work my way to forgiveness.  He opened wide His arms on the cross, I can find restoration in Him.

Asking, bringing my needs, desires, fears without demands to the One who loves me.  Trusting the Lord to hear, give me what is best.  My eyes see so dimly, He knows my tomorrows.  He will place in my hands the treasures created for His precious child.

Commitment, choosing today to serve the Almighty God, not myself and others.  Unleashing courage needed for starting again, not looking back.  Feelings and failures forgotten in Christ’s strength.

Expectation, joying in what the Most Powerful One can do.  Expressing my trust in Him, not my circumstances.  Looking in His eyes, His glory.  My deepest fears swallowed up in victory.

It’s His Grace.

Photography copyright © by Jane Carole Stein

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