Prayer around the dinner table at the Pitmans

Our kids crack us up.

Here’s how our grace went tonight.

9 year old son: Can I say grace?

My wife, knowing he was going to literally say the word “grace”: Only if you’ll pray, not just say “grace.”

Son: Ok, I’ll pray a real prayer.

We all bow our heads solemnly.

Son: Help.


Me, leaning over toward him: Would you care to expand on that?

Our 6 year old daughter, not missing a beat: Help…everybody!

We all busted out laughing.

And laughter is really the best prayer, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!ยฎ," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and He's also the executive director of and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, heโ€™ll be singing 80โ€™s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Proud Christian

    Nice to see you’re having a good laugh, a laugh at the expense of our lord Jesus Christ. You and your family should be ashamed of yourselves! Laughter is all well and good but there’s a time and a place for everything, and prayer should be a serious time for giving serious thanks to God for all He’s given us! “Grace.” “Help… help everybody!” Grace is no time for stupid jokes like these. Jokes are good when given at the right time and when they don’t make a mockery of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. He died for our sins, and you decide to just laugh it up during “prayer” if you can even call it that. Your dining room antics go too far.

  2. Marc A. Pitman

    Proud Christian,

    Shame on you for slamming another believer and not even having the courage to use your real name.

    Help is sometimes the most theologically accurate prayer we can pray. God is all-knowing, we only see part of the picture.

    As for making a “mockery of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ,” I fail to see you’re connection.

    Your comments seem to strike me more along the lines of those the Pharisees accusations of Jesus. He hung out with the wrong crowd and enjoyed the parties too much for their tastes too. They accused him of being a “winebibber and glutton.”

    I hope you’ll grow in grace in this coming year. Thanks for attempting to defend the Lord’s honor, but rest assured, He is our Center here.

  3. Barbara Nixon


    I’m using my real name here, and as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a member of the human race, I thought your post about your family’s experience was sweet. My favorite part? How your daughter added to the family prayer for the evening. We all choose to talk to God in our own ways. And laughter is one of those ways, too.


  4. Sandra Sims

    It’s a sweet story… reminds me of some of the things kids say during our children’s sermons all the time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Sandy Rees

    I love it! Your family is keeping it real and I bet God is giggling.

  6. Angelique

    It irks me to hear Proud Christian’s idea that there’s a *wrong* way to pray. I’m glad, Marc, you’re the sort of parent and Christian to laugh along with your kids, to share with them the warmth and joy of your spirituality, not just emphasize the seriousness and the sin.

  7. Jon Swanson

    you’re good. your kids are learning grace. all the best kinds. It sounds like you have a conversational relationship with God, which is what Jesus asked for.

  8. Mary-Anne Beal

    I am guessing that Jesus is pretty happy that you have family dinners. Merry Christmas, Marc. I know my family meals will be blessed with many outbursts of laughter over the next two days and it fills my heart!

  9. Judy Vorfeld

    Having a happy mealtime with the family all together is somewhat of a lost art.

    How delightful to hear about a family that enjoys meals together, and includes a time of thanking the Lord, using many variations on a theme.

    What joy it must give our Lord to see a family whose entire existence is centered around Him, eating and laughing and sharing. Building memories for future generations.

  10. Kate Libby


    I’m sure your household is filled with prayer on a regular basis. And not that prayer should be a joke ever, but we were given humor by God! I would argue that the “grace” given by your children was not a mockery of Jesus Christ at all, but the innocent joy of childhood that Jesus embraced. The story you told is oh so resonate of my family dinner table growing up. We’d pray (rather Dad would pray) and soon following that my little brother would be spitting out his drink across the table due to laughter caused by something else my Dad said. It was a nightly ritual. I have extremely fond memories of dinner with my family which I think is a rarety these days. Good for you for encouraging a fun social time as a family.

    I also think, it is your family. None of us have the right to judge what happens in your house, positive or negative.

    Merry Christmas!

  11. Dan & Wendy

    Marc & Em,
    This Internet is a wonderful tool of communication…unfortunately, some feel the freedom to say that which they would not dare to say in person. “Proud Christian” is in need of a reminder that Christ, our Savior, is the humblest of us all-and He loves the simple and yet profound comments of children. Old “tradition” is not a virtue, but a genuine childlike heart is what warms our heavenly Daddy’s heart. Thank you for sharing the warmth of your family’s life during the chill of this winter season. Merry Christmas!
    And, Jesus came specifically to, “Help everyone!” ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Love you guys,
    Dan & Wendy

  12. Wendy Dow

    I’m thankful that God knows the heart of each one of us – better than we know ourselves. I’m thankful that we are encouraged to come to Him as little children…with the simple view of life – that is God’s gift at that precious age. Chloe and I often talk about making choices that “make God’s heart happy”. (It helps us to put things in the proper perspective – for a three year old…and for a 3@ year old. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think that Caleb shows amazing insight in his one word prayer…something that many of us miss as we “gain wisdom…but lose perspective” with the busYness of life.

  13. Wendy Dow

    Dear Proud Christian, I’m sorry that you’ve missed the point. I would like to remind you, especially during this special season (that would be “of Christ”) that the second fruit of the Spirit, is J-O-Y. Now…go kick an imaginary dog and try to feel better.

  14. Rob Hatch

    Marc –

    As we have begun the transition to having our own children say grace, we recognized the beautiful humor of the moment as each child (9) realizing that Mom has requested that he be a bit more reverent than simply saying “grace” is now a bit self conscious as any 9 year old will be and the direct, simple and beautiful way a 6 year old can get to the point with her “help…everyone”. This is after all the most basic or prayers.

    It is funny and beautiful and emerges from the precise developmental level of each child (not to mention their personalities) both of which are true gifts from God himself.

    It is simply a gift of humor and beauty that childhood presents.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Anne

    This reminds me of our family dinners! I once heard a Bishop say that there are two main forms of prayer: help and thanks. Help seems like the perfect prayer, and help everyone couldn’t be more needed or more delightful. I know that God has a huge sense of humor(evidence my life – or any number of things in nature), and He enjoys us delighting in the family He gave us, and in talking with Him. How dull I imagine it would be if nobody ever laughed with Him. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t imagine our Lord taking issue with a family coming together regularly in prayer to Him – and delighting in each other and in Him. If anyone can imagine that children are always somber, sincere, and reverent in prayer – then they haven’t been around many lately. I’m just grateful that we more often than not get sincerity. I figure that’s a good first step. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Susan Smith

    Marc: This is the first time at your blog site (thank you Hildy!)…

    My response to the wonderful family anecdote you shared is “Out of the mouth of babes…”

    I also wonder about the respondent who signed on as “Proud Christian”. Though I would hope this doesn’t reignite anything, I feel compelled to observe that I do not see anything to be particularly proud of in that response. The response shows a deficit of tolerance and respect for others, joy, understanding of how kids’ perceive the world and a sense of humor.

    Your children’s dinnertime prayer reminds me of some of the unexpectedly humorous (and occasionaly profound) things that kids unwittingly said about God, family and the world on Art Linkletter’s TV show that was so popular in the 50s and 60s – yes, I’m old enough to remember watching as a kid myself. Linkletter’s books, like “Kids Say the Darndest Things”, are full of similar witticisms from kids who had no idea they were being funny. Their comments were innocent expressions of how they see the world.

    Though I don’t know you or your wife, Marc, it seems to me that you are wonderful parents. You encourage and engage your kids in the rituals of family and spiritual life. They are active participants, not merely spectators. You respect and value their contributions and recognize when they indeed say and do things that are unselfconscously humorous and insightful. Bravo to you and your family.

    Best for the New Year,

  17. Marc A. Pitman

    Sue, Thanks for such a wonderful response!

    Happy New Year to you too!

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