Before I eat with my students, I let one or more of them pray. These prayers are usually humorous, thought-provoking, or both.
One former student always started her prayers by saying, “Dear God, thank you for God,” which seems very theologically sound and might be the very essence of prayer: “Thank you for God- for Your person, attributes, existence; for access to you and communion with You at great cost to Yourself.” That is how I ought to begin more of my prayers.
Children are grateful pray-ers! They consistently spend most of the prayer time thanking God. One current student consistently touches and amuses me with his effusive prayers, things like: “Heavenly Father, thank You for the whole wide world. It’s so beautiful! And the sky is beautiful! And thank You for this yummy food!”
The “thanks-for-the-food” formula is often abandoned by the under ten set. Often, food isn’t even mentioned. My favorite prayer from this school year: “Dear God: thanks for the little sister. I still like her a lot. Amen.”