Excitement rises in me at the sound of his voice, and quickly in the wake of that excitement… fear.
I listen to his words floating up from the backseat of the SUV. They are carefully pieced together in a string of new phonetics. His little brother sits listening intently, a stack of library books in the seat between them. I try to listen above the chatter of their younger siblings in the middle row, but I can’t place which story they are reading.
“The world will become a whole lot bigger.” It’s the promise I have made them since they first began tracing “A is for Apple” in their workbooks. Once you learn to read, the world will open up. It has, and they’ve raced into this new world at full speed, while I hesitate.
They have stepped into their own choose-you-own-adventure, gulping up stories quicker than I can pre-scan them. Ideas are filling their minds to a greater capacity than ever before. I listen as these new concepts manifest themselves in their dialogue and play, aware that some ideas might grate against what their Daddy and I have taught them.
“Hey boys,” I speak to the back row, their eyes do not rise
from the page. “If anything ever bothers you or confuses you in the books you’re
reading, I want you to tell us. We want to hear your questions.” Their gaze is
fixed on the current story, I ask them to repeat back to me what I’ve said.
They do. They heard.
They return to the page, and the driver’s seat of our SUV
once again becomes my prayer room.
A Prayer for My New Reader
Watching them learn to read has been nothing short of a miracle, Lord — something outside of myself. It is watching them growing up, realizing this world is much bigger and more creative than they ever first anticipated. I realize their entire world has just unfolded. There are new layers and possibilities, all of them captured in endless pages piled in stacks scattered across our home.
Quicker than their ability to read, mature their
discernment. When they approach something that confuses them or contradicts
Your truth, may they come to us freely, without hesitation or fear, and may
they bring their questions knowing we’ll help them chase down the answer.
May we make time and have patience and wisdom to discuss all these new ideas and questions. Let this be a new arena of discipleship, helping them sort and sift through ideas, and rightly divide truth from falsehood. May they learn to enjoy the thrill of fiction while resting in the steadfastness of Your eternal truths. Let them develop proficiency and joy in reading, that they would always find rest and inspiration in picking up a good book. May their perseverance grow as they see a story through from forward to epilogue, yet may they also know when it’s alright to set certain books aside.
May their own creativity and imagination grow as they delve
into stories, all while having a sound mind to focus on what is real. Above
all, may they fall more and more in love with Your Word, spending time in it
daily and using it as a plumb line against which they measure every other idea.
May Your living Word and Your Holy Spirit guide them through every word, every
paragraph, and every story.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
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