T: "Has anyone ever taught you how to pray?"
(both shake their heads).
Knowitall: But i watched people.
T: Great. So when you watch people pray, what do they do?
Knowitall (henceforth KIA): they put their fingers like this -- or like this -- or like this -- and they bow their heads.
GrandDaughter (henceforth GD) or they put their fingers like this (demonstrates something I've never seen- possibly a variation of the "church and the steeple" finger game)
KIA: Of course, when they do that, it's because your thumb and your finger make an "L" for "Lord."
T: Oh really! So, is this how you're supposed to pray? is this the only way?
(they both solemnly nod their heads)
KIA: or wait you could also go on your knees!
T: well you know what, I'm going to teach you something different today. I'm telling you that you can pray like this (head bowed, fingers knotted), or like this (face in hands), or like this (slouching backwards) or like THIS (hands on hips standing up: HEY GOD!!!)
T: Now when they do that, what do they say?
KIA, with great authority: Dear Lord, and then they go on to say whatever else.
GD: Sometimes you could also say "Dear God."
T: And what do they say?
KIA: oh, thanks for something, or please do something, or whatever.
T: Right, those are all good things. I was wondering what you think -- can you say a prayer that is angry at God?
KIA looks a little confused, but definitely leans toward a head-shaking "no."
GD (super-glad to have the answer first for once, speaks with great authority) No, you have to be nice to God.
KIA jumps back in nodding: Yeah! You can't do that.
T: What! I guess that's something that a lot of people believe. But I'm going to teach you something different today. You can pray when you're angry, you can pray when you're sad, you can pray no matter WHAT you're feeling like, and God will always hear your prayer.
GD: like if God told Mother Nature to make it rain, I'd be angry at God.
T: and you could pray an angry prayer, and God would still love you. Could you pray just a happy prayer, too, when you're not asking for anything?
KIA (back on track after her brief upset) Yes definitely.
T: you're right - it can just be like talking to friends, where you can say whatever you need to say and God will always listen.
KIA: That's good. so what's this? (my necklace)
T: a compass necklace and I'll tell you about it later. Right now we have to say a prayer and move on with the rest of church!
OH THOSE KIDS. They get you every time!