My kid just turned 5. The bedtime stalling is real. There are a lot of things that you can go without. One night without brushing your teeth? You’ll live. You do not need another drink. We’ll make sure that the teddy bear you left downstairs will be well cared for. But when you look at your dad with puppy-dog eyes and proclaim that you need to say your prayers, you will be allowed to stall. So imagine dad’s surprise when the aforementioned tiny girl gets out of bed, gets on her knees next to her bed, and says her prayers. Now, we are praying people, but we aren’t quite on-your-knees-morning-and-evening praying people. My spouse was so moved by her newfound devotion, but found himself equally puzzled as to where she learned this prayer posture. After she declared, “Amen!” she looked at him and asked, “Dad, does mom pray?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“But I never see her pray.”
Now, I believe firmly in parenting by example. I love that my kiddo watches us exercise to keep our bodies healthy and strong and that she wants to run with me. In fact, she took her first tots class at my gym and has not stopped yammering about it since.
Our kids see what we do. The ways that we spend our time, energy, and money are noticed. The thing is? It is not just our kids that are watching. Others are watching us. Just like there is no time that I get to not be my kid’s mom (even though I try SUPER hard sometimes to be “off-duty”) there is no time that we get to turn off being a Christian. A disciple of Jesus Christ.
In my prayer practice I have not changed any habits. I haven’t taken up kneeling, bedside, for my prayers just for the sake of example. I have, however, changed my habits to tell my kiddo when I’m praying and what I’m praying for. I have asked her more than usual if she would like to pray with me. I wonder what discipleship would look like if we took on more of that attitude. I will not change my habits just for the sake of visibility, but I will invite others to be present with me in the midst of my discipleship journey, hoping that they will choose to journey towards Jesus, too.