A Family at Prayer
Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
Dad’s mind was on Saturday because he considered it to be our Sabbath Day. On this day, as soon as we awoke he summoned us to pray. The kids all gathered in the living room and knelt. Dad would then pray with us from his heart. “Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly ask you to continue to bless our family. We’re most thankful for the many blessings you have showered on us. We’re especially grateful for our health, food, and shelter. Although, we don’t have much, we’re most thankful.”
“We humbly ask you to continue to bless our work, and especially the efforts of mom, who does so much. We thank you for granny Sarah, Edwin, Squee, and Boyie for all they do. Thank you for our family, and the kids, who are in school. Help us to have joyful and kind hearts.
“Please continue to guide us in having a loving home. Be with our neighbors and friends. And help us so that we would view strangers we meet as angels of peace.”
I always thought when I heard this prayer that some strangers could well be devils in disguise. It was dad’s way of helping us see the good in people.
Dad continued, “Help us to envision living in your heavenly kingdom, forever and ever, amen!” Soon he began chanting, “Miracles, miracles, God of miracles, miracles, miracles, God of miracles!”
I was always wondered about dad’s repetitive chanting. It was his belief that all things were miracles. In discussing these beliefs he would say, “Show me anything, and I’ll see a miracle.” As a child I never understood when he said even bad things could be miracles. Soon I thought Christ dying on the cross was the epitome of evil, but look at all the good that came from this bad act.
Again we sang, Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us!”
“Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us!” We responded.
For dad, his chant was adequate enough in asking God to forgive us of our sins. As he knelt before us he was saying, “God’s in control. God’s in our soul.” We repeated, “God’s in control. God’s in our soul.”
Undoubtedly, dad believed God was the master of our destiny. We each had a soul that ought to be guided by his purpose. This was what he taught us. Soon dad raised his eyes toward the ceiling and said, “God’s the way, the truth, and light. God’s our delight.”
We repeated, “God’s the way, the truth, and light. God’s our delight.”
Dad’s religious fervor was overwhelming. As we knelt some of us shifted from side to side trying to make ourselves comfortable on wooden floors. But dad however was oblivious to our discomfort. I wondered if such prayers had anything to do with the people we became in life. In confidence, dad persisted, “With God all things are possible. With God all things are possible.”
This saying reflected his beliefs that all things whether big or small, God was able to transform according to his ultimate purpose.
Again, dad implored God’s forgiveness. “God, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.”
Humbly we responded, “God, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.”
Our favorite prayers followed, “The 23rd Psalm,” “Our Father,” and “Hail Mary.” Dad then concluded this devotion with “May God’s peace, be always with you. Amen!” And we responded, “May God’s peace, be always with you. Amen!”
Often I noticed some of my younger brothers and sisters had trouble following dad’s prayers. The responses they blurted out were funny as they stumbled over their words. The older kids giggled and immediately we received a warning look from Dad. He said, “This was no time to fool around.”
Once the devotion was over we returned the furniture to its proper place. But while we were praying mom was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. As soon as she entered the living room she asked dad how we did. It was mom’s belief, “A family, who prayed would be together.” She believed that we were all members of the Church of Christ, and saw our living room as a place of worship. As soon as the prayers were concluded dad kissed each of us on the forehead before he left the room. After breakfast, we did house work, and planned for church on Sunday.