“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”Abraham Lincoln
Prayer has always been a weakness of mine. I find myself often falling into “vain repetitions” and hesitancy. Even my son noticed they need work. A few months ago after our nightly family prayer he said, “Mom, how many times are you gonna pray that we can sell our house? You said it twice in one prayer!” Recently I have come to a greater understanding of the place and power of prayer. Prayer is not a means to ask favors of God – but a method of bringing our mind in line with Truth. One aspect of prayer I find particularly crucial for mothers, living in a world of distraction, is its ability to help us notice.
When we examine our lives honestly, we see periods of progress and periods of regression. Sometimes I work out everyday and other times I have ice cream everyday. Sometimes I am patient with my children and other times I should probably lock myself in a closet. The reasons for such fluctuations are varied and complex but the path of progress always begins with one thing – noticing. When life is hectic and my mind is full of the weeds of worry or busyness, I fail to notice. My sight is blocked by the overgrowth – I can’t see my descent into bad habits or intemperance. I don’t see the child struggling to adjust to school, I don’t see my waning affection toward my husband. This path of oblivion has a sharp decline. Inevitably I will be knocked out of my stupor- perhaps I will trip on a huge boulder and smash my face – (ten pounds gained, a deteriorating relationship with a child). I will then be forced to wake up to my descent. Then I will notice. Then I will stop and look upwards towards the point of decline.
This is the power of prayer – it can prevent disaster. It can help us see ourselves clearly (who lies to God?). As we see the will of God and the path of progress, we can keep the weeds clear. It is better to notice often than wait and plead for a miracle as we hang off the cliff.
As a believer, I know that as I pray, God will guide my thoughts to the things of most importance. I know that God can comfort me and use me. But even a non-believer can see that daily self-awareness can save them from a precipitous fall. When our children see us praying, see us aware of our weakness and their needs – they will see a mother that notices.
Quotes on Prayer
“And why should the good of anyone depend on the prayer of another? I can only answer with the return question, ‘Why should my love be powerless to help another?”George MacDonald
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”Soren Kierkegaard
“I don’t ask God for favors or for wishes. But, I do think that if you sit on the edge of your bed, and things aren’t going very well for you, and you ask what foolish thing you’re doing to make it worse, that you’ll get an answer right now. And it won’t be the one you want, but it might be the one that of you listen to could set things straight.”Jordan Peterson
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”Abraham Lincoln
“Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
“We must lay before Him what is in us; not what ought to be in us.”C.S. Lewis
The God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself ere it leaves the heart; hence His answers may well come to us through the channel of our own thoughts. But the world too being itself one of His thoughts, He may also well make the least likely of His creatures an angel of His own will to us.”George MacDonald