a prayer for wrangling children at church

God of infinite patience,

Help me not to lose my mind at church today.

When my toddler falls off the pew for the umpteenth time and howls at me,
let me not say I told you so! but I love you.

When the baby gets so fussy that no one within six pews can hear our pastor,
let me not sigh with irritation but distract with smiles.

When I miss every word of the readings (again)
because I was fishing books out of the diaper bag (again),
let me not brood about what I lost
but notice the loving service I gave to the least among us.

When I spend communion time pacing the floor in the back,
or trying in vain to nurse the baby in the cry room,
or taking the toddler to the potty for the fifth time,
help me to see that this echoes Eucharist, too: the gift of self in love.

When that older couple behind us, the ones I worried about the whole time –
that we were annoying them and distracting their prayer –
when they tap me on the shoulder after the final hymn
and tell me we have a beautiful family,
help me believe them. And thank them graciously.
(Help me to reach out like that to frazzled parents once my kids are grown, too.)

And whenever we’re tempted to skip church
because it’s just so hard in this crazy season of life,
and it throws off nap schedules for the rest of the day,
and what are we getting out of it anyway,
help me remember the importance of coming here
and coming together.

Because children are part of the Body of Christ.

Because we need community and they need us.

Because we all need You.

God, you promised that wherever two or three are gathered in your name,
You are in their midst.
That means our pew, too.

Bless my lively, loving kids. Bless their tired, trying parents.
Bless our diverse, dynamic church.
Thank you for the weekly reminder of what matters most.
Thank you for loving us, forgiving us, and calling us close to You.

Amen.

Copyright 2012 Laura Kelly Fanucci at MotheringSpirit.com.

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11 Comments

  1. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn on 20 May 2012 at 12:15 pm

    What a gorgeous, beautiful post! Thank you for the gift of your life, and the life of your family.

  2. Thrift Store Mama on 20 May 2012 at 7:33 pm

    It is SO hard to stay calm during Mass when the girls are acting up. There is much less of that now that they are older, but I remember easily the times I felt lie crying !

    • mothering spirit on 20 May 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Most Sundays I have to laugh or else I will cry. But I know a day will come when our pew is quiet and even boring, and I’ll miss the madness. (Someday.)

  3. JoAnn on 21 May 2012 at 12:45 am

    Did you write this??? LOVE IT!!!

  4. Leanne@ Life Happens When on 22 May 2012 at 7:53 am

    Yep! You read my mind again!

  5. Genevieve on 21 October 2015 at 7:20 am

    I love being in the 3rd row and watching all the action. as an ‘aunt’/other-mother it literally makes my heart laugh and cry at the same time. they boys are all amazing little humans who are so in awe of the gift of their parents!! <3

    • motheringspirit on 21 October 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Love you! You are such a blessing to our family. 🙂

  6. andrea on 27 January 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I am crying….because it’s all so true! Blessings…

  7. Eileen on 4 March 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Oh my word, so much this. Just nonstop chaos in our pew, always.
    I’m so thankful to find your blog. Thanks for this prayer!

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