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.
Copyright 2012 Laura Kelly Fanucci at MotheringSpirit.com.