Whitefield Academy Blog
The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer
I’ve always struggled with having a consistent prayer life. I found myself offering up the standard, “I’ll be praying for you,” to friends and then realizing, “No…I actually probably won’t. I’ll forget about this until the next time I see you.”
I’ve tried on different prayer styles in the same way one might try on diets. Prayer cards were short-lived. Waking up early to pray happened once and then I hit the snooze button. Praying while on a walk worked for a few minutes and then my mind went a million different directions.
So what’s a mom to do? Stop telling people I’ll pray for them? That might be a more honest route but certainly not a better one.
Paul writes to the Thessalonians: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:16-18).
It is God’s will for me to always be in prayer. It is good. It is not a chore, but I was making it one.
Having a “quiet time” might have been what was idealized in youth group in 2003, but right now, it’s hard for me to come by. I had to find ways to incorporate prayer into my life in a way that made it possible for me to “pray without ceasing” rather than cease the praying.
The first thing I wanted to do consistently was to pray for my daughters. I realized that I was dropping them off at school and then kicking myself, remembering that I hadn’t prayed for their days. So to combat the problem, I chose a stoplight on the way to school that was almost always red. This became our prayer light. Every morning as we approach it now, I ask the girls if they have anything to pray for. I quickly and audibly lift up their prayer requests and then pray that God would give them hearts that seek after Him. It only took a few days of doing this for it to become a habit for the three of us. We sometimes bring other kids to school, and they get included in the prayer line-up as well.
The second thing I decided I wanted to do was to keep track of prayer requests and note how God answered them. I dug out a Moleskine notebook and filled out the first few pages with some prayer requests, dating each one and leaving some lines below for updates. I am NOT consistent with this notebook. Sometimes entire months go by without me pulling it out or adding to it. But every once in awhile, I sit down and pray through everything I have written. And as time passes, I am able to jot down how God has answered some of the requests. Slowly the notebook has become not just a list of requests but pages of reminders of God’s faithfulness. Praying through that notebook has become an opportunity for me to thank God for so many answered prayers, often in ways that I hadn’t thought of or expected. It also forces me to check in with the people I’m praying for so that I can get updates on their requests.
The last thing that bothered me about praying was what I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I really didn’t like telling someone I would pray for them and then forgetting their request. So when I know that I won’t remember to jot down whatever was mentioned to me the next time I pray through my prayer journal, I’ve tried two things. The first is that I’ll write down the request on a Post-it and stick it above the doorknob to our garage. It’s completely unavoidable there, and I end up praying as I’m walking out the door. The second thing I do is I use Siri. For an anti-technology person I do love me some Siri. A real quick, “Hey Siri remind me to pray for Jessica at noon,” insures that I will be reminded to cover someone in prayer at least once.
I’m writing this Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer because I’m not good at it. I have the busy mom thing figured out but not the prayer part. This is what a merciful God has made work at this moment in my life. These things may work for you or they may be like the whole getting up early thing was for me. My main encouragement from all of this would be that if praying is difficult for you, that’s ok. That doesn’t mean stop doing it; it means it’s ok to do it a different way. Find accountability, find a chunk of time, find a chunk of road, or better yet, ask that God would give you prayer opportunities. He knows you better than I do.
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