My (Lisa) tween daughter spent a week of summer at our parish Middle School day camp with her cousins and friends. Their week was filled with service hours at the Houston Food Bank, playing on a slip 'n slide with some really messy food items, playing broom ball on ice, going to laser tag, attending Mass, watching a movie on Blessed John Paul, discussing Saints, and experiencing Adoration. Out of the entire week of crazy, fun and faith filled activities at the parish, Adoration was the one thing my daughter came home talking about.
The next week, she asked if we could go to Adoration again. My response? YES! Of course. Regrettably I don't take my kids to Adoration that often, so I'm always a little nervous of how they will sit quietly and not disturb the other people there praying before Jesus. I packed a small bag of a few religious books for each of my kids in case they got antsy while we were there and headed out praying for the best.
My daughter, not wanting any of the books, sat up in the front near the other parishioners in attendance while I sat farther back with my younger two. I was amazed watching her sit, silently and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. She has grown and matured in her faith while I wasn't noticing.
With the other two kids settled in beside me reading books, I began to pray and read on my own. The words from "21 Ways to Worship: A Guide to Eucharistic Adoration" by Vinny Flynn jumped up at me from the page. How touching it is to read about developing your personal relationship with Jesus while actually sitting with Jesus in Adoration! My favorite chapter included,
"This is the one person in your life with whom you can be completely open, completely honest, completely read. Be who you are with Him!" page 34
A wonderful reminder that when praying you don't have to say what you think is the right thing or right prayer. Be yourself. Say what is truly on your mind and in your heart, even if it isn't what you think you ought to be praying. God already knows you and loves you, so be open when confiding in Him.
Another recommendation from the author was to journal five things, events, people, situations or whatever you are grateful to God for. Simply start by writing, "Thank you Jesus that..." Such a simple exercise that can lead you to appreciate things and people around you.
After Adoration, I told my kids about reading this journaling idea and we agreed to do it as part of our morning routine. In the beginning, the items from my kids were the usual - thankful for my mom, dad, family, the trees, the moon... But as we have spent time praying and pondering, the list has grown in depth to things I didn't readily recognize as grateful items. Things like receiving a great smile from my child on a rough day, the squeeze of my husband's hand when I'm making dinner, or the familiarity of family chaos.
And number one on my list one day - the request of my daughter to take her to Adoration. So much good came out of that one question. Through her faith, she is inspiring me to grow in mine and bring me closer to Jesus himself.