HomedotMagisReflectionsPrayers Before Zoom School

Prayers Before Zoom School

teddy bear

My children, like so many in COVID times, are in Zoom school. Each morning we take our laptops to separate parts of the house to work, but before that we have what I like to call “Casa G Academy Morning Assembly.”

We meet in the living room 10 minutes before their school check-in. I make a few announcements like, We have online violin lessons later in the day, or, We need to eat the bananas before they go bad, or, Please, if you love your mother, spend a few minutes on the puzzle today, because I’m really getting tired of looking at it on the dining room table.

We take turns reading from a big book of poetry we keep on the living room coffee table. We don’t always understand the poems, but the words quiet us and prepare us for what is next. Then we gather in a circle, hold hands, and pray the Our Father. Sometimes one of my youngest son’s stuffies—a teddy bear, an orangutan, or a skunk—joins in the mix. He’ll bring it down on days that he is feeling sad that he cannot see his teacher and his friends in person—when he needs a little comfort. I take a stuffed paw as does my son to complete our circle with my husband and his older brother.

Praying the Our Father reminds us of what is true and right and good when we sometimes forget. Each time we pray it together, I am surprised by which words jump out for me. Some days it’s “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and I am reminded that God is in charge. Some days it’s “Give us this day our daily bread,” and I am reminded that all I have is today; I need not worry about the future. And last week it was “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As soon as we said “Amen,” my oldest son and I turned to each other and asked forgiveness for an argument we’d had earlier that morning.

“We need courage,” Pope Francis says on praying the Our Father. “What I say is this: we must humble ourselves into saying ‘Daddy’ and to truly believing that God is the Father who accompanies us, forgives us, gives us bread, is attentive to all that we ask, clothes us even better than the flowers of the field.” (https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/59128289-our-father-reflections-on-the-lord-s-prayer)

We’ve all noticed that sense of courage. Praying this short prayer full of so much truth, emboldens us and gives us strength for the day before us. We feel God’s presence and know we can handle conflicts that might arise among our little pod, the news, or even any technological challenges virtual school may send our way.

Shemaiah Gonzalez
Shemaiah Gonzalezhttps://www.shemaiahgonzalez.com/
Shemaiah Gonzalez is a freelance writer who holds a B.A. in English Literature and a M.A. in Intercultural Ministry. She thrives on moments where storytelling, art, and faith collide. Published on Busted Halo and America Magazine among others, she is obsessed with being well-rounded as she jumps from Victorian lit to Kendrick Lamar, from the homeless shelter to the cocktail party. A Los Angeles native, she now lives in Seattle with her husband and their two sons.


  1. Thanks Shemaiah for your thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer. Even for the Mahatma Gandhi Ashrams in India, the recitation of the ‘Our Father’ remains part of their daily prayer routine in the mornings and in the evenings.

  2. Wow, thank you for writing this! I loved your morning announcements and the image of your Our Father circle, stuffed animals included. If you don’t mind sharing, what is the book of poems you usually read from?

  3. God bless your family at “Casa G Academy!” This was a beautiful story of your daily happenings. Thank you.

  4. Sometimes, being with young children is heaven on earth. Prayers for every parent distance learning! The Divine is present, and we almost don’t even notice.

  5. So enjoyed this and sending to my 3 favorite moms of distance learners (moms of my 8 grandchildren) and am sure they will benefit from it too.


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