“Jesus isn’t asking us to do anything he isn’t already doing. He is inviting us into his life of helpless dependence on his heavenly Father. To become more like Jesus is to feel increasingly unable to do life, increasingly wary of your heart. Paradoxically, you get holier while you are feeling less holy. The very thing you were trying to escape– your inability– opens the door to prayer and then to grace.”
Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life
This week has been humbling as I have been convicted that I need to pursue the Lord in prayer more consistently.
To know Him more.
To grow in grace and godliness.
To intercede for my husband.
To plead for the salvation of my children.
To bring all our daily needs to lay down at His feet.
Conviction is a mercy. And there is yet more grace when I feel so weak and burdened over my struggles.
The challenge for mothers of young children to consistently read and pray is real. My mind is often weary. And like muscles atrophy from disuse, the mental fortitude needed for focused prayer and meditation gets weak. Sleepless nights, nonstop caring for needs, and a plethora of distractions are all more reasons why it is a challenging discipline in this season of life.
But I’m reminded anew that it is not one we can go without, telling ourselves we will wait until a more restful, less demanding season of life. I do not have the answers to how to make it work. I am in the throws of life with little children too. But I do know that it is essential. We will not endure on our own strength. Our families need our prayers. And fellowship with Jesus is better than any distraction (talking to myself here!).
“It took me seventeen years to realize I couldn’t parent on my own. It was not a great spiritual insight, just a realistic observation. If I didn’t pray deliberately and reflectively for the members of my family by name every morning, they’d kill one another. I was incapable of getting inside their hearts…But even more, I couldn’t change my self-confident heart. As I began to pray regularly for the children, he began to work in their hearts…I did my best parenting, by prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing.”
Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life
God’s word is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness..” 2 Timothy 3:16
(Um, does this sound like Parenting 101 to anyone else?)
The Bible also needs a central place in our homes. Faith and conviction for sin come from hearing God’s word– so we should be speaking it often!
I don’t know about you, but during the day there are about fifty things running through my mind at any given time. Usually, they relate to what we will be eating for our next meal, what needs to be cleaned, when the baby needs to eat/play/sleep, and so on. There are days when I am faithful to share about God and the gospel with my children during our normal daily routines. There are also days when I realize at the end of the day that I simply failed to take advantage of any opportunity to share. I don’t purposefully neglect to speak God’s truth to my children, but in these busy, full days the practice can be forgotten.
One habit I have found to be helpful is writing out scripture that is especially relevant for myself and for my children in whatever season we are in and posting it where I will see it often. This helps me to not only remember the words to share, but also helps to ensure that it is on my mind so that when the occasion arises, I remember to take advantage of the opportunity. I bet that this is something you often do too.
This week we combined the benefit of posting scripture and the fun of an art activity. Throw in some Goodwill frames and craft paint and you have a great way to display verses. And for those of us who cringe when the house is a cluttered mess, it’s a good way to display art and still have a tidy feeling atmosphere.
- Cut out paper to fit the frame or to desired size.
- Write the verse.
- Cover the writing in painters tape.
- Paint the paper, being sure to cover the area around the tape.
- Another idea is to drop spots of diluted, watery paint on the paper and let your child blow the paint around with a straw. If you put a small hole in the straw, your child will still be able to blow but be less likely to suck in air/paint.
- Let the paint dry completely, then remove the tape.
- Display your art!
What Scripture has been helpful for you to remember recently? Which verses are you using to teach your children?
Have you found any helpful strategies to prioritize prayer and reading during the season of raising small children?