Praying for Unicorns
Lately, during our nightly prayers, my husband and I have had to stifle quite a bit of laughter. We’ve managed to get through the adorable mispronunciations, the questions about the “strumens” (you know, in the Hail Mary, where we pray the words, “among strumens,” otherwise known as “among women”), and the flying Rosary beads (when a child has lost interest and started swinging them around and then lost his grip on the beads and they fly across the room). But about a week ago, our two year old has started something we just can’t seem to get through without a giggle. She’s started praying for unicorns. And we’re OK with that.
This little girl has only recently decided to join in the part of our nightly family Rosary where we each pray for something specific. The boys pray for things like our family, their grandparents, deceased relatives and friends. My oldest daughter prays for things people who need help, like the victims of super storm Sandy and the tornadoes in Oklahoma. The two year old though prays for, and I quote, “Princess, and butterflies, and for the princess to meet the butterflies, and the prince, and for you Mommy Princess and you Daddy Prince, for you to see the giant butterflies, and for it to not rain. Unicorns.” She tacks on “unicorns” after a pause that is just long enough for us to think she’s done. It’s hard not to laugh, but we try, every night.
I wouldn’t tolerate such behavior from my older kids. The boys are five, six, and seven and are old enough and experienced enough with praying to know that it’s inappropriate for them. She, however, doesn’t know this yet. In her world, these things, these unlikely things, that she prays for every night, they are very real. She’s participating in our family prayer life in the best way she knows how. She is praising God in the only her little two year old heart really understands. She has taken her understanding of what prayer is, asking for help and protection from God, and applied it to the things that matter most to her: unicorns and princesses. There will be time, as she grows, to gently nudge her in the right direction. We will tell her and show her how she should pray, explain to her that we pray for things and people that are real, that we pray to praise God and ask His forgiveness and help. For now though, we’re simply going to revel in the innocence of her prayers and keep trying to teach her how to pray (you know, for things other than unicorns).