Tears rolled down his 6 year old cheeks as we talked. “Woah, what’s wrong, buddy?”
He wipes his face with the backs of his hands and props himself up on the pillow. “I just can’t remember to pray,” he says with a wavering voice. “We said today in Bible study about how we need to pray and I can never remember! Is God mad about it?”
His eyes filled with fresh tears and I smiled and gave him a big hug, trying not to chuckle too much. “Oh, buddy. God is not mad at you. Praying is so important, but sometimes it can be hard to do. God knows you, He loves you, and He understands. The important thing is to keep going back to Him in prayer.”
We prayed together and I asked God to bless his little heart and help him feel His love and mercy. We asked for God to help my son, reminding him to pray and continuing teaching him how.
This little conversation with my son lingered with me for some time. How often do I resolve to pray more or more consistently and then forget? How often do I fail in my prayer life? And truth be told, part of me wonders if God is mad at me.
That was a few years ago. Fast forward to today, and although I still struggle and am still growing, I have learned a few important things that have helped me prioritize prayer in my busy mom life.
Prayer is essential.
“…and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15
Prayer is essential. Of course, we already know this, but how much of our daily life doesn’t really reflect it? We need to be reminded of how important prayer is! The reality is that we are completely desperate for God every single day, and prayer is critical. There is always trouble, whether in our situation or in our hearts. Our part is to call on God. His part is to do His work for His glory.
Encourage your heart and spur yourself on with reminders about how important prayer is! It is the first step in becoming a more prayerful woman.
- It is a primary way we communicate and hear from the Lord of our lives – the One who has authority and power to work in our hearts and our situation for our ultimate gain and His ultimate glory!
- It is an act of obedience and worship, aligning our will with His instead of getting wrapped up in what we want in our limited perspective of things.
- It is a demonstration of faith and devotion for our children, showing them how essential prayer is to the Christian walk.
- It brings peace and contentment because we are focused on Christ instead of the circumstances.
- It builds our faith as we recognize the many answers to our prayers and give God glory in them all!
- It is a delight and a blessing to the Lord!
I am often coming back to this place. To reminding myself and encouraging myself with why prayer is important and why I need it so much! They say that desperation is the father of invention. When we really know deep down how desperate we are for God, we are more likely to stay motivated and make time for it in our busy schedules! I find pockets of time large and small in my daily and weekly routine and focus on prayer in those times as much as I can.
Prayer is work.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
As much as prayer is important, it’s also not easy. Prayer is not meant to be trivial, fluffy, or some checkbox we tick off at the end of the day! Yet how often do we (I) make it that way? While prayer can certainly bring refreshment, peace, and direction, it is also work. And sometimes it’s even hard work. We are laboring in prayer, interceding for others, bringing our husband and children to the feet of Jesus, crying out for mercy and guidance, and leaning into the Creator.
Prayer is work that requires diligence, time, effort, and energy. And as a mom with very little of any of that to spare, I can easily begin letting it slide out of my schedule. But I know now this truth: The work of prayer is, hands down, the most important work we can do. It’s an investment into any situation, effort, or relationship I might be dealing with. It’s an investment in THE relationship that matters most!
After beating my head against the wall for two years about a difficult relationship, I finally submitted it (for real) in prayer. The peace came, just like He said it would. After devoting and prioritizing prayer for our homeschool with my time and attention, we had best year ever! I have seen the real blessings and results of a heart that is truly devoted to prayer and a daily life that reflects that. I certainly still have ups and downs in my prayer life, but the Lord is faithful to continue changing and growing me.
Yes, it takes time, attention, and energy. Prayer is a habit, a relationship, and a godward focus with our hearts that is worked out in us over a lifetime. But the work is more than worth it, and the Lord in His mercy helps us! Pray for the desire, focus, and energy. Pray for help with the logistics as you put prayer first. It could be your best year ever!
She turned the wooden token around in her hands. “Mama, what is this one about?”
I looked down at the symbols, remembering the exact moment when I drew them. “That one was about how the Lord provided us with this home. We wondered how it would all work out since we didn’t have much money at all. In the end this house is what He blessed our family with! And do you know why?”
She smiled and put the token back, rifling through all the others in the box. “Because Yaweh-Yireh, Mama.”
“That’s right, sweetheart. The Lord provides. He has, He does, and He will.”
Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means ‘the Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ – Genesis 22:14
Worry can sometimes sneak up on me. Grumbling and complaining can too quickly take root in my heart. Is the same true for you?
Several years ago I was studying my Bible and reflecting on this when the Lord impressed upon me an ancient truth in a fresh new way: A deep, unshaken faith is tied to the remembrance of God’s provision.
I want a deep, unshaken faith, don’t you? And I want that for my children.
So that was the year we started the Yaweh-Yireh box. It became a tradition to keep ourselves in the habit of noticing and remembering those times that God provided in a remarkable way.
In this tradition, we nurture our faith by writing down what He has done, so that we can face the challenges of life with full confidence in the Lord’s provision. It has been such a blessing, drawing us closer to the Lord!
Are you struggling with worry and fear? Can I encourage you? Spend time remembering! Be emboldened with the truth that God sees and goes ahead of you, preparing and providing.
Find a way to physically remember God’s provision in your family. You can start a Yaweh-Yireh box like ours, write them down in a family journal at dinner time each week, or do whatever works best for you. But do find a way to make this a part of your family culture: regularly remembering times of the Lord’s gracious provision, thus strengthening your faith and the faith of your children.
God has provided, friend! What’s more, we know that He is providing in thousands of ways right in this moment, and that He will continue to provide for all of our days to come.
What does He provide? Wisdom, guidance, care, physical needs, spiritual needs, emotional needs… Above all that, He provides Himself. That’s what we really need, isn’t it? The token my daughter asked about could have been for extra patience, peace in the turmoil or some other way God provided for that situation. We can trust that whatever He provides will be in our best interest.
At base of every obstacle and worry we face, there is the deep and urgent need for more of Him. Here is the blessed reality: Every one of our needs is fully satisfied in the Lord.
Dear heart, whatever you’re facing – whatever challenge, heartache, or struggle – rest in the knowledge that He provides. It may not always look like what you expected. It may not happen when you wanted it to. But it is always in His perfect way and in His perfect timing.
What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence!… He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God. – Charles Spurgeon
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
First thing in the morning, my kids’ little feet hit the floor and they come running in and ask “Mom, what are we going to eat?”
Do yours do that, too?
10:00 AM rolls around and we’re mid-lesson, which is a perfect time, I suppose, for the question “Mom, when are we eating?” or “Are we going to have lunch?”
As if NOT having lunch was ever a thing.
While we’re eating lunch (!) someone asks “Mom, what are we eating for dinner? Am I going to like it?” And they all join in, fully in agreement with these all-important questions.
What in the world?!? Where does this mealtime anxiety come from, anyway?
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
As I’m staring at them in disbelief, slightly amused and slightly annoyed, I have the fleeting and uncomfortable thought that I do the same thing.
Oh, how I imagine I look so very similar to these children of mine when seen through the eyes of God. How limited my perspective is, as I clamor for needs and wants, when He has so much more planned for me. Where does my anxiety come from, anyway?
I know God loves me.
I know God will provide for me.
I know that God has my best interest in mind.
I know that everything will work out for His good purposes.
I know that I can trust Him when I don’t understand.
I know that even when things don’t go the way I planned or desired, it’s all in His good hands.
I know that true peace comes in trusting the Lord with all my heart, and leaning not on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Yes, I know all that just like my kids know similarly basic truths about me and my heart for them.
Yet how many times does my anxiety, fear, and desire to control of the outcome betray thoughts and feelings I would rarely verbalize? Thoughts that show how little peace I really have in my heart? Questions like…
When is this need going to be fulfilled, already?
What if it’s painful or isn’t what I wanted?
What if it’s horrible!? Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen!
What if what I hope for most never happens?
What if God’s blessings just stop coming?
What if I’m doing all this wrong – motherhood, homemaking, homeschooling? What if I’m failing Him?
What in the world?!? Sometimes it seems like worry can twist truth into a lie in order to feed itself. Friends, when we find these worrying thoughts stealing our peace and our joy, we need to capture them and hold them up to the light of the gospel.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
There is no room in a peace-filled heart for anything but purposeful trust in God. We must continually choose to trust the Lord wholly, and purposefully stay our minds on Christ.
Even when things are uncertain.
Lord, help us to trust fully in You, resting in the knowledge that it’s all in Your hands. Give us a peace that surpasses understanding, even in the challenging times. Help us to keep our minds on You, and cast aside worries and anxieties that would steal our peace and our joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Mommy, I didn’t like it when you yelled. It hurt my feelings.” Her big brown eyes were filled with tears and her little lip quivered. I kneeled and sighed. It was a deep, sad, humility-filled, I’m-so-sorry kind of sigh.
I looked at her little face and smiled inside as she blinked a little too hard so the tears would drop with proper drama. And I listened. I already knew the still, small voice would come. The one that says “apologize well.” Ok, Lord.
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” James 4:6
“We need to talk about what happened. It’s not ok to disobey mama. I’ll discuss it with Dad first and then we’ll chat after dinner, ok?” I pause and put my hands on her arms. “But sweetheart, that did not make it ok for me to yell, and I’m really, very sorry. It was a sin for me to act out in anger that way and I don’t want that between us. Will you please forgive me?”
She does. And we pray. We pray confession and repentance, forgiveness and restoration, and strength to turn away from temptation and turn toward Christ.
There are few things as humbling as parenting. Isn’t that true? If I ever reach a moment where I think I’m doing pretty well in godly living and following His ways, parenting will snap me back to reality. In truth, I still have a long way to go! I imagine the same is true for you as well.
I often say that marriage and parenting are like a crucible that is used to purify us. Or like a press that is used to form us. In all the challenges of parenting we are pressed hard. It’s alarming sometimes when we see what impurities and sins rise to the surface. Sometimes it’s downright embarrassing and shameful.
Oh, but what a precious crucible. What a blessed formation! To be pressed and molded by the loving hand of God as He sanctifies us through our parenting.
It’s true, parenting will humble us like little else. We will sin. We will blow it. But thanks be to God for his continual mercies and faithfulness! He replaces shame with hope, brokenness with sweet dependence on Him. The beauty of a humble heart in parenting is more precious than we can imagine. In those moments when we apologize well, we approach the throne of Grace with our children. With humility. We point ourselves and them to Christ, the perfect example of humility. What an amazing gift!
Lord, thank you for teaching us humility. Help us to live it out in our daily parenting so that our homes may overflow with your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“I’m a little worried that Johnny hasn’t accepted Christ yet.” My friend crossed her legs and switched the baby to the other side. “I accepted Jesus when I was four, I think, and I know I shouldn’t worry, but I do.”
I nodded, fully understanding that concern. I came to Christ later in life. I know that the Holy Spirit, not me, will lead my children to the Lord. I know that God loves my children, has a plan for them, and desires that they become part of His everlasting family.
I trust God with my children. I really do. And yet sometimes, well, maybe I don’t.
“Yes,” I say, “It’s hard not to wonder if I’m doing enough, or if I’m doing it right! I wonder sometimes if I’m talking to them about Jesus enough, or if maybe my own issues are getting in the way.”
It’s then that I have this thought: If I really trust God with my children, why do I always mentally wring my hands over whether they are/will be saved? Whether I’ve done enough? Yes, I love them and want what’s best for them. But so does God- even more so – and in HIM is the power of salvation!
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” – Psalm 37:3
Salvation is of the Lord
We know it’s true: Salvation is of the Lord. Only the Holy Spirit can change the hearts of our children. Not us. He calls us to diligently teach and train them in the ways of the Lord and to trust the results with Him.
Do we? Do you?
Fear-based parenting has no place in the life of a Christian. If we want our children’s faith to flourish, we should tend to our own, and regularly fall to our knees to pray for our kids.
Fear is NOT of the Lord
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
When God blessed us with our children and asked us to raise them for Him, fearful parenting was not on the work order.
- Fearful parenting wrings its hands, fretting and worrying.
- It is paralyzed by the “what-if’s” of life.
- It is unsettled and even panicked by the idea that it cannot control choices and outcomes.
- It makes fear-based decisions, betraying the fact that it doesn’t really trust God.
- It reels hard with every sin and sorrow life throws its way.
- It teeters on the edge of a works-based faith.
- It is no faith at all.
Don’t ask me how I know fear-based parenting so well.
Author and Perfector of Our Faith
God does not want us to parent out of fear. Instead, He calls us to faith-filled parenting, by the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to look to Jesus, whom Hebrews 12 calls “the author and perfector of our faith,” to finish the work He has begun in our children.
- Faith-filled parenting finds peace in the sovereignty of God.
- It acknowledges the hard realities of life AND the power of God.
- It rests in the fact that only the Holy Spirit can change hearts, watching for it with hope.
- It is empowered and equipped by Christ to diligently teach and train, surrendering the outcome to God.
- It lives on its knees, praying for the children’s salvation and faith.
- It lives out a walk of true faith in Christ.
Be diligent in your calling as a parent! Teach them to know and love the Lord. Run the race well. THEN rest in the knowledge that the results of your work are in God’s capable hands. Trust Him with their faith.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
Teach it and preach it, friends, in word and in deed!
Lord, help us to parent Your children in faith, not fear. Grant us a great peace and confidence that You are working in their lives and that Your plans for them are good. Please equip and strengthen us for the work you have called us to, helping us always point our children to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
Yesterday was a rather ordinary day in our home. My husband was at work, we had finished our morning work for homeschooling, and the kids were off playing. Joy.
The baby and I were living it up in the kitchen. He was happily watching me from his bouncer as I prepared mass quantities of food that would be gone too quickly and the dishes were piling up. I began to notice the happy chatter in the other rooms turning to bickering. And then the baby started fussing.
Sigh. Well, it was good while it lasted.
I glanced at the clock and couldn’t help but wonder if, for the second time in human history, there was a battle going on somewhere and God had stopped the sun in the sky. Why in the world was time moving so slowly today? Why did I feel so tired? And why, suddenly, did the ordinary work of Mom and homemaker feel like a mountain to climb?
Then it happened. That merciful and quiet voice that spoke to my heart the words I needed to hear: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
You see, I have been praying for joy in myself and in my family, and studying what the Bible says about it. Do you know what I found? I found that there is great joy in the mundane.
Do you struggle to find joy in the ordinary days? Do you get weighed down by the mundane?
Whether you are overwhelmed with the hard repetition of mothering and being a keeper of the home, or are facing situations that are particularly challenging, I can tell you this with certainty: there is joy for you!
As followers of Christ, our joy doesn’t come from our circumstances. It comes from knowing the Lord and His character – from abiding in Christ and the Word of God.
The joy of Lord is a deep and unshakable joy in spite of our circumstances. The more we know God and spend time with Him, the more we are transformed by the Holy Spirit. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, after all, and not something we just drum up on our own effort.
As we abide in Christ and spend time studying, meditating on, and praying the Word, the more we experience the joy that is HIS becoming our own. We abide, He transforms. We focus on Him, He fills us with His joy.
So, thinking on these things, I scooped up the baby and headed off toward the escalating conflict. I took a deep breath and prayed “Lord give me wisdom and give us Your joy… and please help me remember where I put my coffee.”
As busy moms, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Remembering that He is present with us as we clean the floors and teach the math changes everything. Even more so: remembering that He asked us to do it! He takes great joy in being our Lord, our King, and our constant companion through the Holy Spirit. That joy – the joy of the Lord – that is our strength, dear ladies!
May we abide in Christ and be transformed by the Spirit! In whatever mountain you are facing today, I pray that the joy of the Lord permeates your days and fills your heart as you dwell in His presence.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14
Bible study was in a half hour and I was rushing the kids through getting ready. Coats, hats, Bibles, waters, diaper bag, purse, sanity, check! As often happens with 6 kids and a need to get somewhere, somebody started crying. Tear-filled eyes met my own and my daughter said “Mommy, I’m having big feelings.”
I was running late getting dinner put together (again), the baby was fussing, and the to-do list in my head was out of control. Then the phone rang. It was a good friend who had had a hard day and was reaching out for the first time in a long time.
The day was over and I. was. done. Choosing to ignore the dishes for the next hour I sat down to rest (sort of) while getting some planning and curriculum research done. My husband walked in the door and sat down, obviously having had a rough day.
These are common scenes in my life. I’m betting they are in yours as well. Yes, the day still needs to get done, the to-do list still needs our attention, and the dinner still (always) needs to be made. And sometimes a busy mama needs to rest! But when these little opportunities arise, we have a choice to make.
Will we slow down enough to love?
“Love is patient, love is kind…” The Father is fully present and attentive each and every moment. His patience and kindness surrounds us. When we hear that still, small voice to hit the pause button and attend to love on His behalf, will we heed it? When the opportunity to bless our neighbors and have compassion on our loved ones arises, will we take it?
I confess, too often I just barrel through and miss the chance.
Sometimes loving others is just a small, simple sacrifice of time and attention. They may seem insignificant, but when they are intentional and consistent, they are powerful, forming heart strings that cannot be broken and changing us into the gentle, joyful mom we long to be.
In Matthew 14, Jesus hears that John the Baptist, who was so dear to Him, had been killed. He withdraws to a “desolate place” to be by himself. Can you imagine the grief? Can you imagine the emotional exhaustion? He goes away to be alone and seek His Father. Yet when the crowds follow Him in desperation, does He send them away? Does He say He’s busy? Does He say “can’t I get 10 minutes alone?!” No. He has compassion on them and cares for their needs.
Maybe you feel like you have a crowd following you all over the place, too! Maybe you just want 10 minutes alone in the bathroom, for crying out loud (that’s what the lock is for, I always say). You have things to do. You are busy. Let me tell you, I completely relate! However, the Lord is teaching me how to slow down long enough to love.
Jesus is our example. When crowds pressed in He slowed down to love the woman who touched His robe. When surrounded by His disciples He slowed down to heal the Canaanite woman’s daughter. When He just wanted a few minutes alone to grieve and pray, He had compassion on the crowds and cared for their needs.
Jesus knows. He has experienced the same trials and temptations we have. We are not alone! And thanks be to God, He doesn’t shake His finger at us and say “you aren’t loving enough!” Instead, He gives us His love so that with it we may better love others. He empowers us by the Holy Spirit to love others with the love of Christ!
Dear ladies, let us pause when we hear that small voice telling us to slow down to love. May we seize those moments every day and overflow with the love of Christ!
We hope this devotional series is blessing you in your motherhood and your walk with the Father. Please enjoy this printable coloring page, take a few minutes to slow down…breathe…remember. You are loved.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Psalm 67:1-3
Every night, I pray over my children, and it always includes these words:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you peace.”
Of course, I pray for many other things as well, and it is a sweet time for us each evening. I count it a privilege to pray for and over my children! What I am learning more recently, however, is the privilege of praising Him and teaching my kids to do the same.
In Psalm 67 (which alludes to Numbers 6:24-26 and my bedtime blessing) the psalmist prays for great blessing upon the people. However, it’s not just for the sake of being blessed! Rather, it serves an eternal purpose.
“…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all the nations.”
That’s the key. The blessings of God have a purpose in our lives: to give glory to God, so that all might come to know His saving power! That’s not just talking about “the nations,” in a global sense, either. It’s also talking about our household and our neighborhoods – our friends and family!
When we praise God for who He is and the many blessings He gives us, we let His way be known among our children. We tell our husband of His saving power. We come alongside our neighbors and friends, shining a light on the character of the one true God!
Truly, is there anything more important than that?
Let us praise Him, dear sisters in Christ! Let us praise the blessings He has bestowed upon us so that others may know His ways. Let us give glory to our God who is faithful, loving, just, holy, righteous, good, and brings salvation through His son, Jesus Christ.
That is what I am moved to do! So now our bedtime prayers include more of the praises. Our days are sprinkled with moments where we acknowledge a blessing and give praise out-loud to the King. You know what’s happening there, right? We are pointing ourselves and each other to Christ.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Lord, bless us! And in that blessing, let us give you ALL the praise and ALL the glory so that others may know Your ways. Help us to point ourselves and our families to Christ, making known Your saving power in our own home and among the nations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.