How often do you pray for your children?
The sink is full of dishes. The laundry is piled on the floor. The baby is crying, and dinner has to be made. Whether you are a new mom or a seasoned one, you can relate to just how busy life is. It’s easy for the tyranny of the urgent to crowd out even the best of our spiritual intentions. When you’re juggling all that motherhood entails, time with God often takes a backseat.
Yet Jesus calls us as His disciples to pray. Even though we know intellectually that it’s a critical step in our spiritual growth, we often allow ourselves to believe a series of misconceptions that push prayer down on our priority list. Read on to discover how you can address these five misconceptions and reignite your prayer life.
Misconception 1: Prayer is too passive. I need to actually do something to change my situation.
Most moms are, by nature, doers. We are the queens of problem-solving out of necessity. Therefore, when we want our situation to change or we want God to intervene in our lives, we sometimes decide that prayer is too passive.
This can’t be further from the truth. In reality, prayer is incredibly active. It’s about connecting with God in a personal and deep way through an active waiting upon Him. We abide in His presence and wait for Him to work in our situation in His timing for His (and our) best possible outcome.
Misconception 2: Prayer is transactional (If I use the right words when I pray, God will give me what I want).
This attitude about prayer follows a sort of “if/then” methodology, and maybe it’s where you find yourself today. It’s built on the idea that if we do the right things, use the right words, and perform well as a Christian, then God will give us what we want and answer our prayers. As moms, we fill so much of our day with trying to please others, it’s only a matter of time before this people-pleasing tendency starts to spill over into our spiritual life and our view of God.
However, this attitude toward prayer sets up God as a sort of genie in a bottle or a great cosmic Santa Claus. But in both the Old and New Testaments, prayer isn’t transactional. It is always an invitation into a relationship – an invitation from God. And in the context of a relationship with God, we can communicate freely with Him. We can do so because prayer is promise-centered, not performance-centered.
What God wants – and what you and I need – is to actually meet with Him. He wants us to come with our fears, our hopes, and our anxieties. They don’t need to be solved ahead of time. God just wants us to bask in His presence.
Misconception 3: I don’t pray because God doesn’t actually want to hear from me.
Sadly, many of us have a view of God in which He’s sitting in heaven with His arms crossed and is waiting for us to clean up our acts before He’ll answer. It’s true that unresolved sin in our hearts can create a roadblock to God answering our prayers, but God is faithful to forgive us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and is ready and eager to meet with us. In a world where many of our relationships can be derailed by passive-aggressive tendencies, isn’t it comforting to know that God meets us with forgiveness rather than judgment?
Misconception 4: Life is good right now, so I don’t really see a need to pray (I don’t need God at the moment).
Have you ever really had a moment when you’ve discovered just how much God loves you? Perhaps there was a time in your life when you did something so dumb, stupid, and sinful that you realized there was no point pretending like you had it all together. You were spiritually and emotionally bankrupt, and there was no performance to bring. All you could do was simply cry out for mercy. If you’ve experienced that, or if that’s you right now, you know that we often truly encounter God’s heart when life is messy.
On the other hand, if you don’t think you need God right now because life is good, you’re missing out on the relationship God wants to have with you. Just as we don’t want our children to come to us only when they want or need something, God longs for us to seek Him as much for His presence as we do for His provision.
And sadly, maybe somewhere along the line, you’ve allowed yourself to develop an overconfidence in your own strength and abilities. You might not say it aloud, but pause for a moment and ask yourself if your lack of prayer is rooted in a belief that you don’t need God. The truth is we need God on both the good and bad days, and it’s with that attitude of humility that we begin to champion God’s agenda over our own.
Misconception 5: I pray through my prayer list; therefore, I’ve prayed.
To maintain sanity, most of us moms make tons of lists. Grocery lists. Task lists. Lists to manage other lists. But in our spiritual lives, lists without heart are useless. Let me say that one more time. Lists without heart are useless.
If we’re not careful, our entire relationship with Christ can become just another “to-do” list item. Again, what God wants is to meet with us. He wants us to “cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7) So make sure you are seeking God in prayer for more than just a chance to cross another item off your to-do list.
Did any of these misconceptions true ring true for you today? The reality is that prayer is how we ask for the improbable, expect the impossible, and receive the unthinkable. It’s a powerful way to experience God and to impact His people. Even in the midst of the mayhem that motherhood can be, prayer is still one of the best ways to spend your time and one of the best gifts you can give your children. If you want to deepen your prayer life, check out our free online course, How to Experience God in Prayer.
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