At the beginning of this year my husband and I decided it was time to offer our almost-two-year-old son an opportunity for prayer that was designed for his interests, his way of viewing the world, not ours. While our son had always been around for things like mealtime prayers or flipping through a missal (those ribbons are fascinating to a baby!) while we read Scripture, those types of prayer were much more suited for our abilities and temperaments as adults, not his.
So, mostly based on my experience helping with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, we started a daily prayer moment for him consisting of a shelf with a little candle, an icon (that changes every few weeks or so), and a sturdy paper card with shiny letters spelling “Amen.”
Our daily prayer moment is pretty unstructured. We light the candle. Stay there for as long as he’s interested. Then blow out the candle and say “Amen.” Now, “as long as he’s interested” varies. Sometimes, it’s 10 seconds. Other times, it’s a few minutes of him holding the icon and pointing at colors, people, or objects depicted in it. And sometimes, it’s him prompting us to have a mini-procession (around our staircase for a few laps) with him carrying the prayer card, icon, cross, or mini-New Testament.
Someday we’ll change the prayer card—but for now, it’s simply “Amen.” That’s our spoken prayer.
The more I pray “Amen,” though, the more I’m drawn to how powerful a prayer it is. How powerful a word this seemingly boring phrase is.
“Amen” means “so be it” and it comes from the Hebrew root word for “believe.” But that’s not all—the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) even has a section on “Amen” (§1061-1065). Here we learn that “Amen” is more than just a simple yes. It’s a two-way statement that “expresses both God’s faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.” It’s a way of saying that what has been revealed to us is profoundly true.
And what, in a nutshell, has been revealed to us? Jesus as Savior, the Messiah, the Christ. As the CCC explains:
Jesus Christ himself is the “Amen.” He is the definitive “Amen” of the Father’s love for us. He takes up and completes our “Amen” to the Father: ‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.’” (§1065)
How powerful a prayer! What an awesome gift of grace God has given us that we even dare declare, “Amen”—declaring God’s ultimate faithfulness in Jesus Christ and our unearned response as God’s adopted children. All in a single word—Amen!
Copyright 2015, Colleen Vermeulen