Prayer and Names

My daughter, Charlotte, turns 8 this Thanksgiving. For the last few weeks (okay, maybe months), she has been making her birthday list of all the kids she wants to invite. First thing when she wakes up, she goes to the table, markers in hand, and starts writing each name. While watching TV she has the lists in front of her. In her bedroom at night she takes the papers and places them underneath her pillow. I find the lists on the table, piled on the couch, in her book bag, and scattered in the car. Her friends’ names are written in color, numbers next to each name to keep track of how many she’s inviting. Early on she used to ask me how to spell each name, but now that she’s written them countless times, she writes them herself repeating each one outloud. 

Soon we’ll be sending invites and preparing for the party. But with every new list and name spoken, I realize these are more than just lists. They are names of people who have been showing up for her. They are kids from her class, neighbors down the street, and moms from our weekly playgroup. They are the ones who love her. And Charlotte loves them back. Perhaps more importantly, in the writing of these lists Charlotte is teaching me anew how to pray. 

Could this be prayer, this list making, this naming of friends, this intentional time to write names and say them outloud? 

//

The Sunday school class is working on a song to sing in church: Do Lord. 

Do Lord, Oh, do Lord, Oh do remember me. 

Do Lord, Oh, do Lord, Oh do remember me.

In her bedroom, one day I hear Charlotte singing these words to herself. Her voice floats through the hallway. Another day while walking through the neighborhood, Charlotte grabs my hand and starts singing. She puts her fingers through mine and swings my hand. Our feet crunch the red and orange leaves beneath us and we sing together.

Do Lord, Oh, do Lord, Oh do remember me. 

Do Lord, Oh, do Lord, Oh do remember me

Could this be prayer? This singing, this walking, this time together holding hands underneath the great big sky? 

//

This past weekend we remembered all the Saints. In church we remember the mystery that is our life in Christ — we were loved before we were born and continue to be loved long after we have died. And the love of our friends and family who are no longer on this earth, is still somehow with us. The act of Charlotte writing the names of her friends reminded me of all the names of people I have loved and who love me, some who are still here, and some who have died. She’s inspiring me to write their names as prayer. To say them outloud. To give thanks. To remember. To love and to be loved.  

And this is prayer, writing names and giving thanks. 

This week remembering those who have died, we trust that yes, Lord, you do remember.  

We are sealed on God’s heart, love lives on. God is with us in the loss and the grief, the remembering and the loving.  

Who are some of the saints you are remembering this week? Tell me their names and offer them in prayer. I’ll be praying with you.

*This was an excerpt from my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk.  

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is a mother, wrier, and pastor living in Central Missouri with her family. You can read more at her website: Kimberlyknowlezeller.com. If you’d like to read more from Kim, you can sign up for her monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk here. As a gift to her readers and subscribers who sign up, she has a free downloadable resource: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk.

Sign up for my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk, and receive a free, downloadable resource: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk.
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