Why should I make time for prayer? It’s a worthwhile question to ask yourself. I mean, we can try to do this day on our own –we can try to be patient and kind when faced with those moments we want to scream and yell –we can try to hit that never-ending “to do” list–or make that difficult decision we’ve been worrying about –but why try to do it alone when you can walk through all those moments with Someone who loves you and knows you better than you know yourself?
Life is very busy– homeschooling, raising 6 kids, working in the family business, writing — they all take more time than I have to give. Really, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and sometimes I’m tempted to tell myself that I have to jump out of bed and begin my day running, or I’ll never get accomplished what needs to be accomplished in my day.
But the thing is, I need God–I need him like I need air–I need His grace and wisdom and love, because I have tried to do it on my own, and somehow I always manage to make a royal mess of things when I leave God out of the picture!
I have learned that the best time to pray is first thing in the morning. There are days when I’m running late, and I only have time for a quick “hello God” and out the door I go, and somehow that little morning greeting sustains me until I can find time to pray–but I have to make it a priority to find a quiet spot and spend a half hour with God as soon as I can.
There are many ways that I approach this time: the readings of the day, the Divine Office, or a really good spiritual book are a good start, but prayer is so much more than a mental exercise–it’s an encounter with a Someone, a Someone who died out of love for you. Sometimes, I just sit in silence, imagining myself leaning up against Jesus, like the beloved disciple, and I try to just be with Him.
He used to share little words of love and encouragement, not audibly, but in my heart I felt those words, but now He rarely speaks to me –sometimes it’s so painfully dry that I wonder why I am sitting here for half an hour when nothing seems to be happening. But He knows I’m trying and I just keep showing up for our daily appointment, because I know that He appreciates the effort, no matter how fruitless or distracted I feel that time has been.
I once heard the analogy that prayer is like scuba diving: there can be a storm raging above, but the wind and waves don’t reach you when you are deep below the surface. Prayer helps us to weather the storms, even to be unaware of the storms at times, because we’ve tapped into the peace that can only be achieved through prayer. That half an hour of prayer every day helps me to go a little deeper, to be a little less affected by the storms of my day.
And sometimes, the deeper you go, the less you see. This is not the time to give up–when you are distracted or feel nothing when you pray–don’t give up, because I can say that, though my prayer time is often very dry, I feel that God is leading me silently throughout the day, loving me throughout the day, in a way that is palpable. He gives me so much, and when I meet him in the morning, it’s a little way to say “thank you” for all that you have done for me, and are doing for me, and “I love you” and “please don’t let me mess this day up too much”.
Besides, I’m a much nicer mom after I pray…really I am. My kids have seen mom-zilla, a little too often, but those mom-zilla moments are nowhere near as often or as prolonged as they would be if I didn’t take the time to pray. That time that you give to God, do you honestly think He won’t give it back to you a hundredfold? He does, in little ways, and in big ways. He often sends help through other people so that I can manage to get done what needs to get done in my day. More importantly, He let’s me peacefully let go of all those things that weren’t meant to be.
There’s so much more that could be said here, but I have to get back to momming. I’d love to hear how you make prayer work in your life!