It Started With A Sneeze.
Six week old Riley sneezed, and Tom responded with his customary, “Bless You.” In my heart, I added, “with laughter and love.” That was the beginning.
Now, when I rock our precious sleeping Riley, I pray silently, “May God Bless you, Riley, every day, with laughter, love and faith. Sometimes, I expand my prayer to include, “May you know in your heart you are God’s beloved child, gifted, valued and never alone. God’s Spirit is with you always.
When I look back over my life to all the babies I have rocked to sleep, my own and others, I always said and sang, “I love you.” I read special books such as Robert Munsch’s, Love You Forever.” I wanted those babies to know they were precious and my love would always be with them.
With Riley, I do the same. This prayer for God’s blessing is new. For years, I’ve listened to grandparents’ lament that their children don’t attend church. I suggested they carefully choose books like my Spectacular Stella to introduce their grandchildren to God.
Some respond, “Oh no, my son (or daughter) would be horrified.”
I haven’t asked my grandson what he intends for Riley. I haven’t confessed that I pray for Riley every day as I hold him. I just do it. My faith tells me that prayer is healthy, life-giving and strengthening. Prayers for love, laughter and faith are the one gift I can give to Riley that come with no cost, require no shopping and no censoring. We can pray for our grandchildren when we rock them to sleep, meet them at a family dinner, or think about them as they travel in far away lands. Prayer has no limitations but the ones we give.
As I write this, I am aware that God calls us to prayer, not just for family, babies or friends. We can pray wherever and whenever we choose. During Covid-19, we are spending a great deal of time waiting in line. Together, let us use that time to ask God’s blessing on the people around us. Pray for the cashier checking out your groceries. Ask God to bless him or her with laughter, love and good health. Pray for strength, wisdom, and courage. Add a prayer for faith, an understanding that God is always with them, a recognition that they are never alone. Add whatever you wish. If you’re still waiting, pray for the person ahead of you, or behind you, or whoever comes to mind. Most often, this is how God makes suggestions. I guarantee your wait time will pass more quickly, and you will feel better for the rest of the day. Prayer bridges six feet of social distance and 6000 miles. Pray for laughter, love and a close relationship with God. What could be better? Try it. You can change your life and the world.