Most of the time as all five of us take turns praying there is also reprimanding as kids elbow, nudge, or pull at each other. "Quit kicking the wall. Making faces is not respectful! Shhhh, Darla is praying!" and other such instruction becomes essential. Often the kids rattle off their 'regular' prayer without reflection and S. and I nearly catapult them to beds in attempt to start our own quiet evening.
Then, on occasion, the heavens part and we see something deeper. Tonight was one of those, and unfortunately S. is speaking at a middle school retreat and missed it! I was the only one to witness three small children with eyes closed, hands folded, quiet. Actually quiet.
Hudson started off with "Dear Jesus, thank you for bats, iguanas, and scarlet macaws, and strawberries, and blueberries, and all those things you make. Keep helping it to rain so everything you make stays alive. Help be with ALL the people. Amen."
Darla was next: "Jesus, help Dad as he talks to students- help him say what you want him to say and help them listen. Also help the person that needs the ambulance we saw. Comfort them and talk to them. Provide for them and put on them your love. And help me not to have bad dreams. Amen."
The ball was rolling and Everett was up: "Jesus, Thank you Diego, Mommy, Daddy, Bruthy, Darla, and Mom let me watch Diego. Amen."
My prayers included a huge thank you for the blessing of my kids.
Then I gave kisses and tucked them in. Then I went back to bring them water. Then I fetched a cough drop. At some point Hudson needed a band aid. Then Everett snuck down the hall with an excuse that I don't believe was even in English.
...and now, in this moment, my prayers include a thank you for sleeping kids.