Peyton surprised us in the best possible way recently. What happened came out of nowhere, but maybe we shouldn’t have been shocked.
Our family, like many, is pretty consistent about praying before meals. So far in our kids’ lives, however, we’ve typically said a pretty simple prayer together: thank you Jesus for this food and for this family…amen. As our kids have aged, we have begun to pray more complex prayers together, but most of the time we still say our simple family prayer.
But just the other day, when Mandy asked if we were ready to pray before our meal, Peyton spoke up and said she would pray. We both assumed she would simply lead us in our typical prayer, but instead, she prayed her own prayer. And it was awesome. Simple and juvenile, but still serious, thoughtful, and heartfelt.
We were blown away! Where did that come from?! None of us were expecting that to happen—and even Zoe was floored by Peyton’s great, spontaneously-led prayer.
But later that night, as Mandy and I processed the occasion further, we determined that maybe we shouldn’t have been so stunned. I mean, I DO pray for a living! And we are a very spiritually active family. While we have never forced our kids into spiritual practices before they are ready, they both have witnessed our spiritual practices on countless occasions.
I guess Peyton has been paying attention!
Which is the main thing we took away from this fun, spiritual moment: our kids are paying attention. They are sponges, soaking up the way we live, talk, and treat one another. They are always learning, whether we want them to or not. And to make the point more universally applicable: everyone’s always watching. We far-too-often watch each other in order to judge and condemn when someone fails, but still, we watch. And because of this voyeuristic tendency in our culture, we have the opportunity to bear witness to a watching world of a new way of being human—a life infused with the grace, peace, and love of the gospel of Jesus.
Our responsibility is to be models of right living for a watching world. We can’t make new disciples of Christ if no one actually sees us living as disciples of Christ, so let’s commit to living boldly and publicly for Christ—bearing witness to the new, alternative existence we have found through Jesus’ salvation. The world is paying attention, so let’s make sure they see Jesus in and through us.