Posted in busyness, family, parenting, prayer

parenthood and prayer 2

A few friends wisely commented that my previous post on prayer was pretty scant on the ‘how?’. This post seeks to address that issue.

I am no expert. But I am desperate to continue being a disciple of Christ, despite the pressures of having small children. John Ortberg suggests we should be ‘training’ rather than ‘trying’. This makes a lot of sense. Have you ever tried to lose weight? Tried to go for a run? You may have had some success, but ultimately when we try to do something, the focus is on a point which we haven’t yet reached (a goal weight or a running time), and therefore we’re bound to feel like we’ve failed.

When we’re in training, however, the focus is still on where we would like to be, but there is an understanding that we can’t fast forward to that point immediately. We realise we can’t lose three stone overnight, but we know that if we train ourselves into different eating habits, more exercise, etc, then that overall goal is more than possible.

So I’m applying this principle to my prayer life. I am not discouraged when I have a busy day and pray little. But I’m in training for a more disciplined life of prayer. Here are a couple of practical things which help me.

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

As I ‘train’ to live a life of prayer-on-the-go, I figure I will start with the times when I am pushing the buggy. As a prompt, I have attached this band to my buggy handle:

Pray without ceasing.

It reminds me to pray (if not conversing with Joel or anyone I might be walking with). Great. A reminder. But what do I pray for? Baby-brain kicks in, and if I wasn’t in training then I’d have nowhere to start. But I am – so my decision is that my buggy prayers will focus first on whoever is in the buggy. Next, I will pray for wherever we’re going, whatever we’re doing, and the people we’re likely to meet. Once I’ve done that, we may be at our destination – if not, then my praying brain has usually been warmed up sufficiently to remember other prayer needs.

Prayer prompts

I am a visual learner…images help me to concentrate. So I made a prayer board. As Al says: “Bored of prayer? Then try the board of prayer!” (He was very pleased with himself for that one.)

I’ve been wanting to make a prayer board for ages…finally, the planet of Spare Time has aligned itself with the planet of “Eventually-got-a-noticeboard-on-Freecycle”, whilst the moons of “Got-round-to-printing-off-some-photos” and “Collected a few prayer letters” have collided…and it’s done. It displays photos of family, friends and godchildren we are praying for. There are pictures, logos and prayer points for the organisations we support. There is space to add new prayer requests.

In the interests of confidentiality, I can’t show you the rest of the board. Sorry – you’ll just have to imagine! One day, someone can teach me how to pixellate…

It’s a helpful place to keep prayer letters where they’ll actually be seen, read, and hopefully prayed through. It stimulates my weary mind when I know there is stuff to be praying for, but can’t remember exactly what. Effectively, it makes better use of my (limited) prayer time, as I can launch straight in, rather than spend three minutes trying to remember what I’m meant to be praying for, then get interrupted by a waking child or an incident involving wee. It’s also totally fab for encouraging Joel to pray! He loves looking at the pictures of his friends and family, and praying (or asking me to pray) for them.

God made you…YOU!

My friend Hannah reckons a lot of it comes down to recognising what type of people or pray-ers God has made us. If you’re an activist (me), then perhaps doing something, and then using that as a prayer stimulus, is the way to go. Her example was: buy a box of chocolates, then pray about who to give them to. If you’re a prophetic pray-er, then you could commit to praying prophetically for a specific person. As Hannah says, “If we work within our gifts to start with then perhaps it will open paths for different types of prayer”.

This is just the type of discussion I hoped my blog would start! So – over to you – what are your practical ideas for prayer?

P.S. One more day to enter this giveaway!

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Author:

I'm a stay-at-home mum to four kids between 1 and 6, and was formerly a teacher. I blog about living life as a disciple of Christ whilst coping with the demands and excitements of having small children. I've been battling an addiction with chocolate for many years. I'm generally winning, but my teeth are not.

8 thoughts on “parenthood and prayer 2

  1. With my youngest now at school and my double buggy sold, the praying-while-pushing stage has past. But I still pray-while-walking-the-dog in much the same way as you describe. And while swimming (I’m in much-needed training for both physical and spiritual fitness there!). And while communiting to work (but keeping my eyes firmly open!) Otherwise it can be hard to get the necessary quiet time. I also find using the Office, or some of the online reflections such as those from the Jesuits, helpful when my mind keeps getting distracted (again, this is easier now the children are that little bit older).

    Love the idea of a prayer board — It’ll probably take a similar alignment of the organisational planets to get that one in place, but you’ve fired my imagination!

  2. Lucy, having just read your blog, went to brush my teeth and picked up the bathroom copy of Elle to pass the time. Put it down and prayed instead, which would be a great habit for me as I’m a teeth cleaning obsessive.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Amazing how simple it can be but how easily we get out of the habit. Am enjoying introducing Sara to prayer – if a little late. She loves the idea of ‘Making God smile’. I spend more time in the car than pushing the buggy, so I think I’ll put a message on my steering wheel. I also get some time to myself to cook dinner while Lee entertains the kids – a note on the extractor fan / fridge might help! Love the idea of the prayer board though. That may well be tomorrow’s project while Lee’s away.xx

  4. Love the idea of the Prayer board – and how it can involve the child to pray too – fab! I’ve written some verses on small pieces of coloured card and stuck them on my steering wheel and mirror in the past, and found them helpful to meditate and pray – must get back to that again! 🙂

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