When Your Heart is Yucky, Pray

-Written November 14, 2015

-Edited December 16, 2015

Go on a prayer walk every day.  The summer between high school and college I prayed to God that if He would help me get my feet in my running shoes every day I would talk to him the whole time I ran.  I wanted to be on the college soccer team and knew I needed his help to get there because I needed a ball in front of me to run, I loathed running just to run.  He came through for me even on this menial task as I ended up choosing not to join the soccer team because of my grueling and more-important-to-me course work but did choose to keep my prayer runs.  As a result, I was incredibly grounded all around – emotionally, spiritually, physically, you name it.  A few days ago I was reflecting on this when I realized I could make my daily walk a daily prayer walk.  I was scrolling through what to do about an excess of anger in my heart.  So my first prayer walk was almost entirely spent fervently praying that the Lord would pluck any seeds of anger out of my heart and throw them into the fire.  And he did.  And I will keep walking and praying.

Praying before meals.  As long as I can remember my dad has folded his hands, closed his eyes, and bowed his head before meals.  I’ve always admired this and wanted to do the same.  And yet, I’m 27 and I can’t recall a time when I’ve done this if he wasn’t in the room with me asking me to pray with him.  No more.  I want my daughter to see God all around her and this is very definitely a tangible way I help bring God to life for her.  I also want my daycare girls to see God everywhere and what not a better way than to pray with everyone before we dig into lunch together?  Most importantly, I really do want to thank God before meals because we are abundantly blessed with nutritious, wholesome food everyday and that is a gift!

Pray with Maisy before she nurses to sleep.  I recently went to a MOPS meeting and was staggered by some statistics:  the average child spends 28 hours a week in front of the TV, 32.5 hours a week in school, and up to 4 hours a week in church if they go to Sunday school and a Wednesday night kids program.  The moms that were sharing for the evening challenged those of us in the audience to bring God into our kid’s lives at any opportunity.  One of the ways I want to bring God into sight is by praying before meals, another way I want to bring God into sight is by praying with my daughter before she goes to sleep.  Talk about a good time to pray for my sleepless wonder of a child too!  Again, if only I’d thought of this sooner.

Devos before bed.  Some parents choose to get up before their kids to have alone time.  I’m not sure what “early” looks like to those parents but I am not naturally a morning person and getting up with Maisy around 5:00 is plenty early for me.  I am, however, naturally a night person so I am going to curl up in my cozy bed, maybe even with some tea, and do my devos before turning off the light and rolling over to pray myself to sleep.

Praying myself to sleep.  As a mom I have struggled to find time to do devotionals when I could give God all my attention.  With a difficult sleeper for a baby and toddler I couldn’t even rely on nap time or bed time as options; without fail I would just get settled to do my reading and Maisy would pipe in as if objecting to the idea.  So, at the very least, I knew I could pray.  I could pray myself to sleep.  When I first started I fully intended to stay awake until I said, “amen.”  I felt guilty falling asleep in the middle of my conversation with God.  But sleep deprivation and God had different plans.  Turns out praying to sleep is the most soothing way to go.  I feel like I’m being carried into sleep by the ocean waves and I enter an undisturbed rest unlike any other.  I also used to have a tendency to have unpleasant dreams or nightmares almost nightly, not the case anymore!  My dreams are now only lovely if at all.  God is a good God!

I do not share any of this information to sound like I’ve got it all figured out.  I don’t.  These things I’m going to do are because I don’t.  And I will forget them sometimes and start falling fast.  I will likely get lazy.  They say it takes days and/or weeks to form a new habit.  It takes me forming and reforming every time Josh comes home and every time he leaves again.  That’s one of the biggest challenges about our lifestyle with him on and off road.  He will come home and a devotional routine I was solid on plummets because I’m spending that time with him instead.  He will leave and I’m thrown into so much chaos with juggling it all by myself again that all I can think about is getting it all done so I forget to even pray myself to sleep.

I share all this information for a couple reasons.  One, I am committing to these things and I often find it helps to stick to commitments if you declare them before others.  So, here I am, declaring!  Two, I do hope that maybe some of these thoughts and tid bits will act as inspirations to your life.

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