Lions are a big part of my family lore: one of the houses on the walk to Grandma’s house has two cement lion statues in the front, and we greet them each time we pass. Greet meaning roar. There’s nothing cuter than a toddler roaring their heart out at a cement lion. This winter we (read: I) have actually dug out the poor lions out from under a mountain of snow on a couple of occassions. (We sort of know the lions’ owners and were pretty sure they wouldn’t mind us liberating them from their icy prison.)

A book about Daniel came into someone’s radar and we began reading it at bedtime. The first few times we read the story, we couldn’t finish the book for the number of questions everyone had. To them, it was a new story… a super strange story. Crazy kings? Not allowed to pray? Thrown to the lions? To be EATEN? Where they bad lions? While the younger ones were more focused on the lion aspect of the the story, the older ones were thoughtful. They had never heard of the concept of not being allowed to pray. Understandably, praying was still a have to do rather than a got to do. (Unless it’s singing “Hail Mary” – that seems to still be a treat.)

“Why didn’t he just… not pray? Wasn’t he afraid of being eaten?”
“I guess he didn’t think he could not pray. Praying to God is just like talking to God. Can you imagine if someone told you that you weren’t allowed to talk to me?”
“That’s just silly.”
“Isn’t it? Do you think we would be brave enough to do what Daniel did?”
“Probably not.”
“Well, I guess that’s why we pray…”

I find myself thinking about prayer as a have to do rather than a got to do sometimes. Now I have two cement lions to remind me of this privilege that I too often take for granted. Two cement lions and a little one-year old who thinks cows roar. And pigs. And ducks. And sheep.