We used to finish our day with ‘Bible and prayers’ after dinner, but things have changed around in the last little while. Even though we’re all over the shop with transition – or maybe exactly because of it – our family liturgy has gotten a new lease of life, and this muscle is working really hard.
For years we would read from one of our children’s Bibles and keep those on rotation, but E’s interest level and reading ability has started to push the boundaries of that, so I’ve started reading aloud whole chapters from his NIrV.
E takes longer to finish dinner, so we moved the Bible reading to the table. First Mark’s Gospel, now the Acts.
After ‘wee check and teeth’, we turn off the lights and move to the couches. This means we finish the day with the last light of the sun fading around us. Our eyes adjust to the dark and the boys start to fully relax before they get upstairs to bed.
At the couches, Tamie gives E a massage to help him wind down while I read aloud from a novel. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to begin with — we were remembering Eustace’s dragon ordeal.
Then we do our modification of TSP prayers: Wow, Ouch, Thank you, Sorry, Please. ‘Wow, God…’ is for awe, wonder, amazement; ‘Ouch, God…’ is for sadness, lament, frustration, grief — both things that we wanted to make room for (the idea came from conversation with Jill and Bei-En). We each take turns to say these six prayers if we can think of them.
Then it’s our family prayer:
Thank you that you love us, and for everything we did today
Thank you for our family: for Mama, Dadda, Elliot and Callum
Please help us to sleep well, and teach us to be your people
Then we sing the Lord’s Prayer (this version).
Once upstairs I sing from our collection of songs before putting on a relaxation podcast for the boys.
‘I love you, and God is with you. Have a great sleep! I’ll see you in the morning.’
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.