On a whim (and for the bargain price of ten cents), I picked up Madeleine L’Engle’s Everyday Prayers at our local thrift shop a couple of years ago.
I love it. Yes, I’d prefer it if it only used “God” instead of “Lord,” but even as is, with its 70s illustrations (by Lucile Butel) and orange cover, it’s worth a read (both for its intended audience – children – and the grown folks who love them). It’s a reminder that prayer can be like an informal conversation, full of observation and wonder and whimsy.
My bath is the ocean
and I am a continent
with hills and valleys
and earthquakes and storms.
I put the two mountain peaks of my knees
under water and bring them up again.
Our earth was like that-
great churnings and splashings,
and continents appearing and disappearing.
Only you, O God, know about it all,
and understand, and take care
of all your creation.
Tonight, Boy decided that he’d take on the role of the creator or perhaps that of the earth, one who creates the churnings and splashings. He picked up the book (it’s one he goes to again and again – he also loves to pick up Sophie’s World!) and, instead of turning to a page, he flung it into the tub. The tub which was full of water, ready for a Boy, not a book. For a brief moment, it was an island, a quiet place of prayer in a stormy sea. I quickly rescued it from the tempest. He did not seem sorry.
Boy is sweet at night, adding prayers for everything from the grandparents to the clock to lots of things in between.
Good night, God.
Take care of us while we sleep,
and you have a good night, too.
Everyday Prayers now sits beneath a heavier book, drying back into what I hope will be something close to its previous form. The boy sleeps, and I have to hope that God understands the nature of little boys – and is, as Madeleine L’Engle wrote, having a good night, too.
L’Engle, Madeleine. Everyday Prayers. New York: Morehouse-Barlow Co., 1974. Print.