My four-year old has been having bad dreams over the last several months. For a short time she was convinced that if she slept with her older sister, she wouldn’t have bad dreams. Or if the light was off she would have bad dreams. Next she was convinced that if she slept with me instead of her sister, then she WOULD have bad dreams for sure.
Finally one night trying desperately to stop her crying and persuade her that she could actually go to sleep and not have bad dreams, I suggested that she ask Jesus to help her to not have bad dreams. We had a brief discussion about how great Jesus is and that he can do anything if you ask him to. She asked me again if she could go to bible school again when it was summer and I said of course. And then, finally convinced that a prayer might work, she asked me what to say. And so I suggested the words for the prayer one line at a time and she repeated it.
Dear Jesus, I love you Jesus, Please help me to not have bad dreams. Thank you Jesus, Amen.”
And with the comfort of that short prayer, she fell asleep within minutes. She awoke in the morning and the first thing she said was “Mommy, it worked! I didn’t have bad dreams!”
And thus began our new nightly ritual. Every night, without fail, as she’s getting ready for bed, she asks the same question, “Mommy will you help me say my prayer so I won’t have bad dreams?” And so we pray to Jesus together to help her not have bad dreams.
Over the last couple weeks, since Christmas really, the flu and other illnesses have been very prevalent in our family and circle of friends. Inspired primarily by her friend throwing up at preschool, my daughter has added a section to her evening prayer to ask Jesus to help whoever it is that isn’t feeling well that week. Or sometimes she simply says please watch over my family and my friends.
So one night as she climbed into bed, I reminded her to pray for her Nana who wasn’t feeling well and for her Aunt Dixie, who was hurting again from kidney stones. She nodded and we began her prayer. She mimicked the usual lines about stopping the bad dreams and then added a prayer for her friend, Gabby, who had been sick at school, for her Nana who wasn’t feeling well….
and then she said, ” and please help Aunt Dixie with her kidney beans”.
The thing about kids is you just never know when they’re going to say something that you’ll remember forever. Cherish the children in your life for they truly are God’s greatest gift to us.