Teachable Moment: Praying With Kids to Reset a Bad Day

Last Sunday, we got home from a nice morning at church, and then all “hell” broke loose.

By the time we walked in the door, Kenna was upset about something and hit Nathan. Nathan later retaliated by pushing her. Not five minutes later, Alexa walked up and pulled Kenna’s hair for no reason. Through all of this there was a lot of yelling from mommy and daddy. Having three kids three and under often means chaos, but this was extreme. The triple child meltdown is actually pretty unusual.

The contrast of church with the reality of our home after church was frightening. It was like something out of an episode of the Supernanny. I felt like things were completely out of control.

But you know what I was more concerned about? The fact that a morning like that often snowballs into an entire day like that. As I listened to the kids continue to argue, I thought to myself how wonderful it would be if we could just start some days over. A nice big “reset” button would be immensely helpful.

Then I heard a little voice inside my head ask, “Why don’t you pray with the kids for help in ‘resetting’ the day?” Looking over at Kenna poking Nathan repeatedly with her rolled up placemat, I had my doubts prayer was going to change the situation. I’m just being honest. However, it was worth a try.

I sat down at the table and explained to the kids that we all needed God’s help to start the day over. I explained that there are many things we can’t do on our own in life, and this was an example of asking for God’s help when we feel like we can’t stop being mean and hurtful by ourselves.

The prayer went something like this.

Dear God,

Our whole family is misbehaving right now.

We started this day with a beautiful sunrise. We had the blessings of a roof over our heads, comfortable beds to sleep in, and a breakfast to eat.

But we soon lost sight of You this morning. Kenna misbehaved by hitting. Nathan misbehaved by pushing. Alexa misbehaved by pulling hair. Mommy and daddy misbehaved by yelling.

Please forgive us all for losing sight of You, and for losing sight of our love for each other.  Please forgive us for the anger and frustration we still have, even while praying this prayer.

We need Your help, Lord, to start this day over so our sins of this morning don’t continue to negatively impact our day. Sometimes it is hard to break a pattern on our own. That’s why we are asking for Your help.

We pray specifically for peace in our home right now and that we could each let go of our bad feelings. Please help us appreciate the rest of this beautiful day with abundant joy.

Amen

After this prayer, there was an “unexplainable” and tangible peace in our home. Immediately. I personally felt the anger and frustration melt away, and the entire countenance of the kids changed.

We had an amazingly uneventful and beautiful rest of the day.

It was a huge learning experience for me to see that I really can “reset” the day, by turning to God for help and not just relying on my own willpower and discipline techniques to get through it. It also made for a wonderful teachable moment for the kids.

When days are going downhill, how do you turn things around? Have you tried praying as a family?

2 Comments

  1. kim mcdonough on May 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    this was extremely helpful to me today. thank you so much. sometimes when we are walking down this road we feel like the only ones who have these things happen. thank you for your honesty, and willingness to share the love, grace, and mercy of Christ



  2. Bev Wafford Morris on May 3, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    WOW… Something I’ve never considered. But definitely worth trying. We normally just separate the children (it’s easier with just two), let them calm down a bit, then talk to them individually. If my husband is home, he gets one child and I get the other. But if one of us is alone, it’s one right after the other. But the idea of inviting God to help set the situation right, it’s brilliant! Must try this with the next family breakdown.