Last night the kids and I prayed before bed. Seeing the baby in the crib clasping her hands together and speaking gobbledeygook intentions is one of the cutest things ever.

And no matter how many times I try to slow my four year old down through the sign of the cross he still looks like he’s instructing Jesus to steal second base.

But we pray for lots of folks and lots of things. And as we’ve gone on, the list has grown longer. My kids like to add names to the list from school.

But tonight, my six year old requested that we remove one girl from the prayer list because the girl said she was no longer my daughter’s friend and she was mean to my daughter. I told her maybe now that little girl needed our prayers more than ever. This seemed to excite her and she clasped her hands tighter and scrunched her eyes.

After we went through the list of relatives and friends and public officials and I was about to turn out the light when my nine year asked if maybe she could get on the computer tomorrow and come up with a shorter list of people to pray for.

Why? I asked.

“Well,” she said, “I think we’re praying for so many people that are prayers are getting chopped up and spread out too much.”

No, I said. It doesn’t work like that.

The seven year old interrupted, suggesting we could switch off nights praying for different people each night that way they’d be more effective. (I’m paraphrasing her because it took her like 800 words to get across that sentiment and I don’t want to put you through that ordeal)

My six year old said, “But let’s remember to pray for (my friend) because I want to be able to tell her I prayed for her even though she was mean to me.”

I turned the light out and told them we all needed to talk tomorrow. And we will. I just have no idea where to start.