About a month ago, Joel and I decided to start praying with Eli before meals, naps, and bedtime. We prayed with him sometimes, but there was no real routine to it. We realized he was definitely beginning to understand what being "thankful" was about. (When he says "thank you mama" it melts my heart.) Soon, he'd understand that there's a God who loves him. So, we began with prayers before "his" dinner, since we don't always eat when he does.
At breakfast on the morning of May 21st, he put his head down, eyes wide open and looking at us, and said quietly, "Thank you Jesus. Amen." It was the sweetest thing. Lately, when we forget to pray, he'll stop partway through eating and say, "Pay? Momma, pay?" "Do you want to pray Eli?" "Yeah" "Okay, let's pray."
Sometimes, he lowers his voice, babbles a bit, and then says, "Amen." Only God knows what he's saying, but I'm sure it makes Him smile.
When we were in Hilton Head, he said his first "big" prayer. The three of us sat down to dinner, and Joel led us in prayer, thanking God for our food, our vacation, the beach, the waves, etc. All three of us said "Amen." A minute later, Eli said, "Pay again? More pay?" I didn't think he would understand what I said next, but I thought it was a start.
"Eli, you can pray whenever you want. God will always listen."
"Do you want to pray again?"
"Ok, go ahead."
"Thank you Jesus for potty....(pause)....beach. Amen."
Eli doesn't actually use the potty (yet), but he LOVES to tear off a little toilet paper, put it in the toilet, flush it, and close the lid. The toilet at the condo was much easier to flush than ours at home, and he was thrilled. So I guess he understands a part of prayer- that we thank God for all blessings, big and small. Potties included.