Afternoons at the Gottschild abode can go either one of two ways.
I am only going to tell you about one of them.
I am going to tell you about afternoons spent serving wholesome afternoon snacks with Hillsong piping in the background, as to aid our daughter’ studies. I’m going to tell you about the waft of pot roast floating through the air, teasing us until dinner. I’m going to tell you about the low hum the washer and dryer rhythmically exude while I fold and hang. I’m going to tell you about all that occurs on select afternoons after I already spent the day teaching middle school German, after I already sent the girls off to school with organic lunches in tow. After I already vacuumed the house, feather dusted, swiped a toilet or two clean, paid the bills, removed all pancake remains from the kitchen table, pottied the dogs, prepared said crock pot dinner, and embarrassed my children at the bus stop in my jammies (Lucky me, I don’t actually work until noon).
You can see that, on such afternoons, all that’s left to do is clothe my family in velvet, and then my husband will be in good standing at the town gates.
So one particular afternoon, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, our youngest daughter, Lenna, walked into the room and said, “Mommy, you need to help me memorize my prepositions. We need to sing the song.”
Remember, I’m a language teacher. So don’t hold it against me when I tell you that I have a favorite part of speech, and that the mere mention of prepositions sent tingles up my spine.
But more than just my love for grammar, I delighted at the chance to teach prepositional usage for another reason, a reason that would make all that velvet garb unnecessary. For this was the big teachable moment, the chance to empower and equip our daughter to formulate (duh duh duh…):
Yes my friends, this select, now fantabulous afternoon, I would not only aid my daughter’s education, thereby enabling her to grow up and build wells, command corporations, birth babies, and dress her own family in velvet, I would enhance her spiritual walk. While spiritual and humbling, inserting “just” as an adverb throughout our prayers can never provide the endless supplicational opportunities prepositional phrases afford. Prepositions are simply the key to creating the most fluid, seamless, and seemingly endless, prayers that will knock your elders’ socks off.
Allow me to demonstrate:
Step 1: Memorize your prepositions to the tune of Yankee Doodle.
With on for after at by in
against instead of near between
To off from under down below
Through over up according to
beneath, across, beyond, about,
before, behind, within, without,
among, around, amidst, above, toward.
Step 2: Insert as many prepositions into your prayer as possible, stringing them together.
Step 3: Complete phrases with Christianese Direct Objects! Your prepositional phrases aren’t complete without such christiany sounding nouns as:
Christ, God, Jesus, brothers, sisters, throne, name, humility, thankfulness, gratitude, heavenlies, hardships, burdens, fellowship, blessings, glory, truth, world.
(The list could go on and on. Simply create your own word bank with your favorite stand bys.)
And voila! Just look at this prayer, diagrammed like an eighth-grade English grammar exercise!
Lord, Father, we just come (to You) (on this day) (to fellowship) (with our brothers and sisters) (in Christ), kneeling (before your throne) (in humbleness) (at Your glory). Dwell (among us) as we gather together (in Your name) (underneath the heavenlies) (despite life’s hardships). We believe nothing can stand (against us) while living (in but not of this world). (Without You) we are nothing, (according to multiple Bible verses), so we are constantly running (towards that which we cannot see). Because it’s all (about You, Lord), it’s all (about You).
And there you have it, my SCL friends. Easy peasy, never fail, never-ending supplications suitable for all spiritual situations, including, but not limited to, small-group popcorn prayer circles, church meetings, women’s Bible study sessions, and youth retreats.
Yes, thanks to our little propositional study session, Lenna not only aced her prepositions test, but she will ace her prayers in all years to come. So now I can use that Hobby Lobby coupon for something other than fabric intended for apparel, like, let’s say, a wrought iron cross adorned with fake ivy.
For more great writing from Kim, you can check out out her articles here.