Monday night, we sat down to my quickly prepared supper. Reagan, banging her spoon on the tray of her high chair, was clearly reaching the end of her patience. It’s a short rope. Hubby turned to her and said, “Reagan, shall we pray?” Not so much asking permission as just alerting her to the fact that before any of the food would be placed within her arm span, we would have a short prayer. He prayed over our meal and then turned to her and said, “A-MEN,” really slowly. We’ve been trying and trying to teach her to say amen at the end of our prayers so every time we finish we over-emphasize the amen. And normally she just smiles at us. But this time she dropped her spoon and grabbed one hand with the other. We watched silently as she carefully laced her little fingers together till they were forming a tightly clasped grip.
Several seconds of stunned silence ensued. And then we burst into cheers and shouts of acclamation and clapped our hands loudly. “Yay Reagan! Good job! Big girl!” We said it over and over and over. She looked at us for a few seconds, wondering if all this commotion was a good thing. And when she saw our smiling faces, she couldn’t help but break out in a huge grin herself. And then she clapped too, because clapping is terribly contagious.
It was a shock, you see. We had NEVER taught Reagan to fold her hands, because we were just sure she was too young to learn that. We didn’t ever even discuss helping her fold her hands - that just seemed to be something we would work on down the road. We were so focused on the “amen” that we completely missed this folding-of-hands lesson. Ooops!
“Where did she learn that?!” Hubby asked me, completely bewildered. “Maybe at daycare,” I shrugged, equally as awed.
Reagan folded her hands for prayer at both meals on Tuesday. I clapped for her each time. She clapped, too.
This morning when I dropped Reagan off at daycare I asked our babysitter if she prays with the kids when they eat lunch. She explained that she does and how she helps them fold their hands and then they have a prayer that they say together. She even told me that Reagan folds her hands all on her own and even knows to bow her head a little bit.
Its probably not that big a deal, but to us its just the coolest thing. Reagan isn’t really saying a lot of words just yet, but we know that she understands us. We can see that she is smart by the way she plays with and figures out her toys. And we are thrilled to see her take her first few steps in prayer - something we truly hope will follow her all her life long. What a sweet thing to see this tiny little lamb, normally so loud and independent and rambunctious, bow her tiny head and tightly clasp her hands together. I’m sure she doesn’t really understand it yet, and I wonder if any of us do. But on some level, how precious it must be for God to see this little one beginning her journey of faith.
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Matthew 11:25-26