I can't remember where I was when I heard a speaker talk about One-Word Prayers. (Although, if I had to guess, it was at a Hearts At Home conference one year). The main point that I retained from her session was that in the mad rush of daily life, it can be helpful to have ONE word that you claim as a prayer for someone specific. ONE word that you silently focus on with God for a fraction of a precious moment. You know, that one second here and there in the midst of answering phone calls, putting a load of laundry in the washer, running down a flight of stairs to hold your crying five year old who smashed a finger, going outside to water the half-dead flowers in pots on your patio, replying to three emails, paying a bill and frantically searching for a stamp because you can hear the mailman's truck just down the street, preparing a meal, moving the laundry to the dryer....and on and on until you collapse into bed at night.
I choose a one-word prayer for each of my three daughters. I chose a word for each of them the day after I attended that conference--maybe two years ago. That first time, the three words I chose were CONFIDENT, GENEROUS, and DEVELOPMENT. Oldest daughter needed confidence to be a leader in her grade school classroom. Three-year-old needed to be generous because she was, well, three--and had a new baby sister on top of it. Baby just needed God's watchful eye over every aspect of her development in that critical first year.
After some time passed, I decided to choose a new word for them each year on New Year's Day. But, our impending move to Haiti has motivated me to choose new words for them a little early. I haven't chosen new words yet for daughters #2 or #3 (and I'm open to suggestions if you have any!)... But, I chose Danielle's word yesterday.
She's turning 8 this week and had an early birthday party. We had pizza and then went to see Disney's latest princess movie, Brave. It was the third time we've seen it! One of the taglines from the movie is:
"In every age, family is king...And the bravest journeys are never taken alone."
Ok, and I'll admit that I also ADORE the fact that the movie is mostly about a positive, loving mother-daughter relationship. I've been sore at Disney for several years now over the fact that so many of their movies feature mothers (or step-mothers) that are either a) dead; or b) pure evil. Snow White's and Cinderella's moms--both dead AND they have evil step-moms. Belle's mom--dead. Ariel's mom--dead. Jasmine's mom--dead. Even Bambi's mom--dead.
So, anyway...I'm feeling a wee bit happier with Disney.
Back to my one-word prayers... I like words. The English teacher part of me is a little obsessed with them. BRAVE is a pretty cool word. It's an adjective, verb and noun--three in one!
brave (adjective): having or showing courage
brave (verb): to face or endure with courage
brave (noun): an American Indian warrior
For Danielle, I'm focusing on the first two meanings. God, help her be brave about packing up her stuff and leaving her grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Help her be brave for her little sisters because they look to her to know how they should feel. Help her be brave when we step out on the tarmac in a different country that is unlike anything she's ever experienced. God, give her courage those first few days of school when she isn't familiar with anyone or anything. And, Lord, no matter where she goes all the days of her life... Let her be brave in her faith and brave enough to share it. Amen!
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."