As a mom of any child, but especially one with six kids under six (yeah that would be me!) finding time to pray can seem like a challenge! There's zero "dead-time" during the day, and if anyone asks me to give up a spare moment of sleep, no matter how brief, will be tortured and left for dead. So trust me when I say, I understand! I totally get it! But so does the Good Lord up above! And thankfully, he's worked moments that are prime for prayer right into the life of a stay at home parent, packaged conveniently as different things. We just have to open our eyes and recognize each of these moments.
So here are my top 5 places/spaces to work prayer into your daily routine:
1) Just Do It: sometimes the hardest part of increasing your prayer life is just getting started. We all like to dream about a fancy prayer life, but when it comes to parenting, prayer can be messy. You may want to pray for the deliverance of demons and world peace in a third world country, but the truth is, God is just as concerned with your children as well. He understands that your prayer life may not be digging spiritual trenches for orphans in Zimbabwe, but that you may need to just call down deliverance for your three year old, who wedged himself between his bed mattress and the wall. Praise the Lord! Prayer doesn't have to be fancy. So just start. Start somewhere. It ca. Be with the kids even- just do it! If you feel weird at first, don't panic. Just press through the weird feelings and eventually it will become routine!
2)Drive Thru: Us moms wear many hats and have a laundry list of responsibilities. (Including laundry!) One of those responsibilities is Chauffeur. The next time you're driving down the road, with the kids all harnessed and secured, pray! Pray for each little one in your care. Pray for the traffic that's stressing you out (since most people probably need it!). Pray for the city you're driving through, or the ambulance and it's patient that just whizzed by. Pray for the things you can see around you, and you'll add between 5-30 minutes to your prayer time each day. Some of us spend much more time in the car too. Instead of scrolling through Facebook in the car line, try praying. And watch what God can work out while you're just driving through!
3) While everyone else sleeps: As a mom of a newborn baby, I am in the throes of this myself. Every three to four hours I'm up for about forty minutes feeding and changing and burping and rocking to sleep a sweet boy named Ozwin. Most people dread this time after the initial "baby swoon" phase ends. I decided when Adalynn was a baby, that I would use the time I was up, and the house was quiet, to pray. The funny thing is, that even when a newborn baby starts sleeping through the night, inevitably another kid wakes up in the night or I'm left staring at the ceiling and thinking of all the things I've left to do for tomorrow. Utilize the time wisely and spend it praying! Pray for the baby you're holding, the kids in the next room sleeping, the husband beside you, the anxious thoughts you're sifting through- whatever! Just start praying! I always say that this scenario is a win-win scenario. If you've ever felt like the enemy is tormenting your sleep, and causing you to be awake - either with worries or kids, prayer will change it. He will leave you alone if you start praying against him! And if it isn't the enemy, you're gaining valuable face time with the Creator of the world! See? Win-win!
The next time you're wide awake at dark, pray!
4)Amidst the Melt-downs: if you're a mom, you know all about melt-downs. You know that at some point during the day, no matter how perfect things go or how long the kids nap, someone is going to lose their mind and freak out crying. Sometimes it's a baby who can't tell you what's wrong, sometimes it's a toddler who is screaming because they can't eat batteries, sometimes it's you because you're so tired and the house is a wreck and the kids won't listen and you smell because you haven't had a shower in three days. To be honest, some days, everyone is crying- mom and kids! But it's during those most difficult moments when prayer seems like the silliest idea. But really, it's one of the best ways to get through the hardest moments in the day. It also teaches and trains both our flesh and our onlooking children to press into the Spirit when things around us are in chaos. The moment the kids are inconsolable, pray. The times yore most tired, pray. The days when nothing is going right, start praying. And when you don't know even the right words to pray, begin to pray in the Spirit. The Bible tells us that when we can't find the words, the Holy Spirit makes utterance for us, and knows exactly what we need in those most desperate moments. So pray your way through those struggles!
5) All Together: Every night before bed, we pray for our kids. And we've recently added turns for each kid to pray for each other. I love this because it is a form of discipleship. As a mom, I have the opportunity to train my kids in brief moments, what following Jesus actually looks like. Instead of just a measly prayer of "Jesus bless the kids and watch over them tonight" (which totally happens some days because it's getting late or I'm too tired!) I have the perfect platform to train them to battle in their own prayer lives. If I pray wimpy prayers every time I model prayer for my children, they will only ever learn to pray wimpy surface prayers. But if I use the five or ten minutes to war in the Spirit with powerful words directly from scripture, my kids learn this language and technique as well. I can pray for "The blood of Jesus to saturate every square inch of their room", for "Angels to keep charge about them through the night", for "God to give wisdom as they sleep, and to dream dreams and have visions, prophetic words as they sleep", that they would have "Power, love, and a sound mind as they sleep, and that the Spirit of fear would leave, because God doesn't give fear to His children". When I do this, I'm modeling a type of prayer that they can then practice when it's their turn to pray. If strategic prayer, using scripture and focused like a two-edged sword is going to be used by my kids, I have to show them how to use this weapon against the enemy. If I handed them a giant sword and said "here use this when necessary", they would injure themselves or stumble over the power of such a large weapon when the time comes. Unless, of course, I allow them space and safety to practice using it before the time of need arises. Allow your kids the opportunity to see and hear powerful prayer before they need powerful prayer for themselves. The time will come in school or with friends, when they're down and out or sad and sick- arm them and equip them with effective and fervent prayer that does much- by showing them what it is and how to use it when you pray for their dreams, their "boo-boos", their school day, or their meals. Do it, and do it together!
I hope you're encouraged. I hope you're inspired! We can all "up" the power of our prayer lives, and I hope these times help you to gain a little more ground in the area of prayer time! If you have a favorite time of place to pray, let me know! I need all the help I can get!