Mornings are hard, right? The alarm goes off - and you think about hitting snooze. Or you actually do it, maybe more than once.
You force your body into a vertical position and get on with your routines - take the shower, drink the coffee, put on the clothes, go to work. It's tough. The more people or pets you add to your mornings, the more hectic things can get - same approximate amount of time, that many more bodies to get vertical, fed, and out the door.
Once I am out the door and in the car, I've found that what I really need is more arguing from the back seat. Just kidding. What I really need is to tap into those daily mercies, very early. ("The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23"). Once we reach a certain traffic light, I solicit prayer requests from the back seat where my kids are rolling 3 deep in their car seats. This conversation usually makes the car ride slightly less raucous, is a good reminder for me to focus my mind/heart, and is hopefully laying a good foundation of prayer.
Some days are better than others. When we first started my oldest child, who was around 2.5 years old, and would just say whatever she could see out the window: "Trees. That lady walking. Blue. Garbage trucks." I wasn't always sure how to pray for those things but I tried to incorporate them to show her that you can talk to God about anything. I did steer away from fictional characters, and would ask for someone we knew "in real life" - which worked about half the time. It was certainly an early morning practice in creativity for this busy mom who doesn't always like slowing down.
Recently I changed my question to, "Who's on your heart to pray for this morning?" The two year old cheerfully says, "Daddy!" every day, sometimes adding in one set of grandparents or the other. The now four year old is a little less predictable; sometimes she spouts off a list so long I can't remember it all, sometimes she says she can't think of anyone, and this spring she started saying, "The whole world." At first I thought this was a cop-out or a one-upper to her brother, but when I actually said it out loud, "God please be with the whole world..." it hit me how much the whole world really does need our prayers. Desperately. Completely. She’s pretty smart.
For a few weeks after she started saying this, she would want to sing the song "He's got the whole world, in His hands" on repeat (if it's been a while since you've heard or sang this song, you just repeat the title four times and add some inflection.) In our car, I would pause and let them take turns filling in the blank. They would usually give the name of a classmate (Blakley!), teacher (Ms. Melissa!), or (again) something they could see out the window (tractor!).
"He's got __________ in His hands, He's got __________ in His hands,
He's got ___________ in His hands, He's got the whole world in His hands."
The pint-sized passengers of my Honda Santa Fe are not solving the world's problems, but we are praying for them.