A friend shared with me the story of a lady who would pray, “Thank you, Jesus!” on a string of beads every day. She called it her “Thank you Jesus Rosary,” and praying it always brought her joy.
The first time I prayed it with my kids, they immediately began naming things that they were thankful for, and it turned into a litany, with “Thank you, Jesus!” as the response. It’s a great prayer for car rides, and we occasionally say it as part of our family prayers. We always end up giggling, laughing, and in a cheerful mood. Who says praying can’t be fun?
It’s entertaining and sometimes inspirational to hear what each child thanks Jesus for. Our two-year-old, who doesn’t have many words, babbles something, and we all heartily say, “Thank you, Jesus!” Our four-year-old looks around the room and thanks Jesus for whatever she sees. “For the ceiling fan!” “For Mama’s purse!” “For Mama.” “Aww, how sweet,” I think. “For Mama’s black hair!” Aww, also sweet (even though my hair isn’t black).
Our silly six-year-old prays with her whole self. She gestures her prayers with her arms like a fairy transforming the room. She says “For the sweet eyeballs that you gave Mama.” Once again, I’m flattered, and we laugh and say, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Our eight-year-old loves thanking Jesus for cute things, such as kittens, baby birds, and pretty dresses. Our perpetually hungry ten-year-old has a list of food items he thanks Jesus for: “For pizza . . . for doughnuts . . . for McDonald’s . . .” He changes his pattern by saying, “For my three sisters.” Aww, sweet again. But he has four sisters. He miscounted . . . or did he?
The two older boys are thankful for things like video games, the sacraments, water, the invention of the wheel. Then they start into biology: for bones, for guts, for the windpipe, for blood, for boogers. I’m thinking, okay, these are all important things that God made, but I’m putting my foot down if it gets any gorier.
I announce that everyone gets one more turn and then we’re done. Someone wants to get all her thoughts in: “For the alphabet movie and ballerina dancing!” “Thank you, Jesus!”
And lastly, my four-year-old says, “Thank you, Jesus, for mama’s work!” I don’t know what she’s thinking. I don’t have a “real” job. But I wonder how little kids can say such profound things so easily. I love my work. This is the job I always wanted.
So, for my work, thank you Jesus! And for letting me see how my little kids love me, thank you, Jesus! Please help me deserve their love.