Monday, January 30, 2012

Holding Hands During Prayer

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My husband and I always used to hold hands when we prayed before a meal...then our first baby came along.  Then, more often than not, at least one of my hands was busy either bouncing our new baby to keep him quiet, nursing him, or reinserting his pacifier.  Welcome to a family of three =)  The bouncing turned into shushing and the nursing turned into peeking to make sure he wasn't grabbing for food on the table.  Enter baby #2.  At this point I had long forgotten about holding hands during prayer.  While focusing and actually partaking in prayer is the obvious goal during dinnertime prayer, I found that in realty my goal was just to maintain the quiet.

A month or so ago the kids and I were at a friends house to play and eat lunch.  Before we ate, our hostess asked us if we held hands when we prayed.  I replied, "No, but we sure can!"  While she thanked God for our lunch, I noticed that I wasn't having to peak to make sure that my children were sitting and not reaching and not distracting themselves or others by fidgeting.  How did I know these things? Because I was holding their hands!  Light bulb moment!

Needless to say, we tried this at home and haven't turned back =)  As a parent you can know so much about what your child is doing by simply holding their hand.  Obviously they could still be making faces or something like that, but with a small child they usually get 'squiggley' when they are doing something silly like that, so you can still tell by the movement of their hand if something is going on that shouldn't be.  Then, I find it so much easier to simply squeeze their hand if they are doing something wrong than to try to reach or motion or loudly whisper to get their attention while my poor husband is trying to pray.

After doing this just a time or two, my 1 1/2 yr old little girl caught on and asks to hold hands now when she sits down.  She usually has already grabbed at a few handfuls of food, so before everyone is even seated, she will reach her gooey hands out wide and say "ands? ands?"  Priceless for a mommy to watch =)

How do you handle prayer time in your house?  Do you have any tried and true tips that help parents and children be able to actually focus while someone is praying?

Happy Praying!

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8 comments:

  1. Found you through Growing Home. Your blog is so pretty! Anyway, this has been a hot topic at our house lately. My husband insists we hold hands at the dinner table while praying but I don't see why it is important if a child chooses not to. I haven't approached it with my husband yet because I haven't thought about it when an opportunity arose and the children weren't around. However, after reading this I think I will leave it be. This gives me another perspective for which I am thankful!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad that this post could be an encouragement to you. I don't think that holding hands, or even folding your own hands is the only 'right' way to do it, but they are ways to limit distraction, which is the point. Keep on pointing those kids to Christ! Just that you're thinking things through tells me that you're probably doing a great job =)

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  2. We hold hands when praying together around the table as well. To me it seems like a physical symbol of our unity and agreement in prayer. :)

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    1. That is a great picture! Thanks for sharing =)

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  3. In my culture, Afrikaner (South Africa) everybody always hold hands during prayer. When I say always, I mean at meal times with your nuclear family and when friends come over, then also at big family events.

    The last time we were on the beach during lunch time, I saw a family put up their umbrella and lay down their blankets. They had bags of fish and chips. The all sat down, held hands, bowed their heads and prayed together for their meal. It was so pretty. Like a unity they did this.

    By doing this open in the public they also made their beliefs public at that time. Have you ever been interrupted in a restaurant during prayer by a waiter/ess? In South Africa, waiters do not interrupt during this time because they can see your hands are together and that you are praying.

    In our house we hold hands becuase that was the way I grew up and my hubby welcomed it.
    :D

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    1. That is another great reason to hold hands while praying. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  4. My almost 2 year old loves to hold hands to pray. On occasions when I've been in a hurry and am grabbing a quick lunch on the run and have forgotten to pray, he holds out his hand and says "Eh! Eh! Eh!" until we we do. It is so sweet. ALso he is only beginning to speak, but an approximation of "Amen!" is one of his first words. It makes this Mama pretty happy. :-)

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    1. So sweet, folkhaven =) Thank you for sharing your story. That would make this Mama pretty happy too!

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