The Heidelberg Catechism (published in 1563) asks, “Why do Christians need to pray?” It answers, “Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. And also because God only gives His grace and Holy Spirit to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking Him for them” (Lord’s Day 45, Question & Answer 116).
I have been familiar with this section of the catechism for many years and it often makes me feel guilty. I struggle with taking the time for “real” prayer: kneeling beside my bed, head bowed, hands folded, and pouring out my heart to the Lord. This struggle is partially due to the fact that I am a busy mom of four young children. Yet, my main problem is not really my busyness but my laziness. I need to reprioritize my life.
Lately I have tried to make it a habit to pray throughout my day, while life is happening all around me. If someone I know comes to mind, I lift him/her up in prayer. If I have a concern for myself, my children or husband, or something going on in our lives, I bring it to the Lord in prayer. I have struggled off and on wondering if this kind of prayer counts. I am not, after all, bowing my head, folding my hands or closing my eyes. I have had doubts that it is truly prayer, because it seems like I am just talking to myself in my head. But then I have to tell myself that God knows my heart. He knows my intentions. He knows that those “thoughts” are really prayers meant to reach Him.
Some mornings I say a quick prayer before getting out of bed. I ask for the will-power to actually get up instead of sleeping in. I pray for the strength needed for the day, and in regards to my children, patience and the right balance of loving nurture and firm discipline.
I read this quote the other day and, for myself, found it to be very true:
The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day (E.M. Bounds).
When I get up early, before my kids wake up, and am able to spend some alone time with the Lord, my day goes much better and I seem to think of God much more often than if I do not get a good start to my day.
I would encourage all young mothers (and anyone else!) to start making time for God. Try to find a quiet moment where you can focus on Him. Read a Psalm or short devotional and spend some time in prayer. It can be difficult to make yourself do it, but it is so worth it!
The article is by Catie Lobbezoo, wife to Joe and stay-at-home-mom/teacher to their four blessings: Sierra (7), Cody (5), Abby (almost 3), and Brooklyn (9 months), and a member at Dutton URC, Caledonia, Michigan.