Prayer by myself. I ache for it.
Since I’ve had kids finding time to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) has been a challenge. Mornings are too early, nights I have an appointment with my husband to go to bed together. So I have to find prayer time in between.
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them” is easy. I put kids to bed fairly often. Every time, every kid, we pray.
I’m not talking a little simple prayer that they can learn off by heart. I’m talking a powerful prayer where we get in touch with the Holy Spirit, well at least I do even if they don’t always. I used to sing Kari Jobe’s “You Are For Me” as their bedtime song when they were small so we’d have the opportunity to get into a place of worship. If I was doing five in a row I’ll sing it five times and continue my prayer as I moved around the house. The kids sometimes joined in, sometimes fell asleep, sometimes they’d say, “Hurry up Mum,” or sometimes they ask for special prayer.
These days all the kids are able to pray with me, or my husband, who nowadays shares the bedtime routine, although for years I did it alone. We always pray beyond ourselves, in fact my kids rarely pray for themselves and we pray with praise and thanksgiving and we believe for things in faith. We have seen so much answered prayer.
My husband and I also pray together. Not in the disciplined way you write books about. We’re better at praying for each other than praying with each other. We have different styles. I’m all wordy and worshippy and wait-up!-I’m-getting-a-vision while he’s uber efficient. He’s like the kids, if I go on too long, sometimes he just falls asleep.
For a season, after my fourth child slept through the night, and I did too for the first time in 7 years, God started to wake me up in the middle of the night. I was so exhausted and I sooo did NOT want to pray at 2 am but I couldn’t go back to sleep without being obedient so I got up and prayed. Some nights I would crawl back into bed at 5.30am after hours in the presence of the Lord. He taught me so much in that time. It was wonderful being with him in the quiet and the darkness. He gave me visions and words of knowledge and all the energy I needed to keep going despite the lack of sleep.
But then it stopped and I had to find my own way again.
I’ve had seasons where I can grab a moment here and there and seasons where a prayer walk was the only thing that worked. I’ve had seasons of praying in the shower, letting the living water rain down on me so to speak. I’ve had seasons of praying for the owner of each piece of clothing at the clothesline. I’ve had seasons of listening to an audio bible in the car or the kitchen and praying in tongues while I listened. I had a season of writing worship songs whenever I did the laundry or the washing up. Combine the best with the worst I say, sometime the repetitive mundane tasks are the best for worship because your mind is free. I’ve had seasons of beautifully disciplined bible reading highlighting scriptures, notetaking, and journal writing followed by luxurious prayer. Now days I pretty much pray and worship continually but stillness is illusive in this small-child-season and it’s what I crave.
I have to work to make stillness happen, which is a paradox, but I always think of Jesus who faced much bigger and much more needy crowds than mine. Sometimes he got away by himself but other times he had compassion on them. When you give your life to God and not yourself there will be days when stillness is not found up the mountain or secreted away in a closet somewhere. It has to be found in the crowd.
Once I went to a talk about prayer by the amazing Heidi Wysman, then Prayer Pastor at C3 Oxford Falls, Sydney. Heidi talked about just sitting down right in the middle of the chaos and telling Jesus you love Him and inviting God into the situation. Afterwards I wrote a little song for myself. It helps me into worship and stillness when things around me are totally crazy. It is my ‘from madness to stillness’ song.
I don’t usually get to sit down. I don’t usually even get to shut my eyes or close my ears or stop cuddling or playing or tidying. But I sing in my mind and in my spirit. Occasionally I’ll sing out loud and raise my arms and close my eyes but mostly that’s the exception. Somehow it doesn’t matter to God. He just wants me to dare to pray in the madness.
The song is short enough to be able to sing quickly but long and slow enough to calm me down, make my spirit totally still and let me press in to feel that God is there with me.
These are the lyrics,
Jesus I love you
Jesus, I come to you
Into my hiding place
Where I can seek your face.
Jesus I love you
Jesus, I feel you near
And you are beautiful
You are beautiful
You hold me close
You lift me up
You put my feet back
On the rock of Jesus
Jesus I love you
Jesus, I’m quiet now
Tell me the word I need
While I wait at your feet
The Holy Spirit lifts my heart and afterwards I wait a few moments for God’s ideas, words and thoughts to come into my head. Something always shifts because God, not the crowd, is now my focus.
I do it whenever I need to feel that God is here, not just know it or believe it. Being still for me is about feeling God, getting out of my head knowledge about God and into experiencing His presence. And God meets me. No matter what season or state I’m in. No matter how mad the madness is.
He just wants me to pray. He wants us to pray.
God help me I dare you to pray today.
Be blessed, be encouraged.
Lots of love,
P.S. Another post, Satisfaction, may also be encouraging if you need inspiration to pray.
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