Jackson Five Friday: Wounding Prayers


If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few months, you may have noticed that I post less and less about my older two sons.  Sadly, they are getting too old for me to blog about them.  Disputes are more complicated than they used to be, and they definitely do not want me publicly writing about them.   A few months back I wrote a piece about something that concerned my oldest — it wasn’t anything embarrassing or highly personal, but when I let him preview it (as I’ve made a habit of doing for the last few years), he said he’d rather I not post it.  Of course, I honored his preference, even though I thought it was about the best thing I’d ever written.  And with my 11 year old, he has such a BIG personality and he’s always been so precocious that he’s just a wealth of material.  But alas he’s an increasingly unwilling subject as well. I fear Sam’s days are numbered too.  So all that to say, my older sons are just as wonderful and frustrating as ever, but increasingly off limits.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t have tons of stories about Dub and Nate I’d just LOVE to share.  Instead, the Samcentricity of the blog is a regrettable reality I’ll have to face at least for the foreseeable future.

But enough about that, I want to tell you a story from a few weeks back.  I couldn’t write about it when it happened because I could barely think about it without my throat closing shut and my eyes spilling over.

We were driving to school as usual, and just as we were about to arrive, I prayed.  We always pray, although we kind of take turns.  Anyway, I prayed something like this:

“Lord thank you for this day, thank you for our school and for our teachers.  Please give us all a wonderful day.  Please help Sam to pay close attention and to follow directions…”

When I turned around to watch him climb out of the car, I could see the hurt on Sam’s face.

His wounded, angry eyes peered into mine.  “Let me pray,” he snapped.  “Dear God please help Mom not to make ANY mistakes today.  Amen.”  Then he marched into school without another word.

We could dissect what I did wrong.  We could evaluate whether Sam was being overly sensitive or manipulative or irrational or irreverent.  But this I know:  my prayer hurt him.  And I can’t tell you how much I hated the image on involuntary continuous loop in my mind of Sam’s huge eyes, grieved and sorrowful because of me.

Thankfully Sam got over it.  I told him how sorry I was for hurting his feelings.  I told him how I never intended to make him feel bad.  It was easy for me to be genuinely sorry because I witnessed the true pain I caused him.

But sometimes in my marriage I can get really hung up on whether Will’s reaction is justified.  I may even find myself thinking, “Geez!  He is totally overreacting!”  Somehow for a highly sensitive little boy, I can just be sorry, without qualifiers.  But for my man I can be more concerned about whether what I did was truly wrong.

As a stubborn, strong-willed woman, this is sort of an epiphany: I can be sorry for my actions because of their effect without justifying my actions on their merits.  And, in fact, this is the loving thing to do.

The Bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”  (Romans 12:18 NIV).

Is there some relationship in which you are being stubborn?  Are you reluctant to make amends because you think you are right?  With God’s help, can you just be sorry, without qualifying, without justifying in any way?

May we be more about nurturing relationships than proving rightness.

Have a fabulous weekend and stay warm,


One thought on “Jackson Five Friday: Wounding Prayers

  1. Megan Orsini says:

    wonderful lesson… wish I would have read it a couple hours ago 😉 Made an apology (and did truly mean it) but definitely added a few “justifiers” in there… thanks for sharing 🙂

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