My almost three-year-old son has taken on the role of the one who prays before a meal. It delights my soul he wants to thank God for how He provides for our family. It also brings me great joy (and a cringe-worthy moment) each time he chooses to pray when our family is eating at a restaurant (which we probably do too often). The conversation usually goes like this:
Me: “Graham, would you like to pray for our food?”
Graham: “Yes, me. I do it.”
Me: “Okay, just make sure we can hear you.”
Graham (in the loudest voice he could possibly use): “Dear G-g-o-o-d-d-d, Thank-You-for-our-food-thank-You-for-our-family-thank-You-for-our-church-amen.”
If he ends up being an evangelist, I won’t be surprised. He has the booming voice to speak “God’s name” and can inflect his voice just like an old-time preacher. He may also be a professional wrestler, but, I digress.
At the end of the day, I’m thankful he wants to pray. My daughter is slowly beginning to voice prayers at bedtime, too. They are very concise, but they are genuine prayers for her family and friends.
I learned to pray at an early age. I was reminded of this as I read through birthday greetings on Facebook last week. A family friend posted: “I know I tell this story too much, but many years ago when you were very young (in life and in following Jesus) I was at your family home working on the telephone lines and your dad told me that you begin your day with, ‘Lord, before my feet touch the floor, I begin to pray to You.’ There are many days that I begin to pray before my feet touch the floor, often I think of you.”
Honestly, I don’t remember this. I wish I did. And, I wish I still got up each morning with this attitude of humility.
Reality is, my priorities are often out of sync. I am more inclined to check Facebook than check in with my God. I am more inclined to take those extra few moments to catch some sleep than give a few moments to align my day with my Savior. My intentions are good, but I often fall short.
I think about prayer a lot. I know God commands me to pray and I know He hears me. I also know He answers … every time, in His time.
I think a lot. I try to fix a lot. I talk about things a lot. I dwell on a lot.
Thinking about something is not praying about it.
Trying to fix something is not praying about it.
Talking about something is not praying about it.
Dwelling on something is not praying about it.
The only real way to pray about something is to actually take your request to God.
I’m often quick to think, quick to fix, quick to speak, yet slow to pray.
Somehow, my mind has been clouded with the distractions of daily life. I used to keep detailed journals of prayers to God and how He answered them. Somewhere along the way I stopped. It could have been becoming too legalistic of a practice for me. It could have been priorities that changed. Regardless, I know there needs to be a revival in my prayer life, and it has to be intentional on my part.
Here are a few things I’m committing to do:
Keep a list of prayer requests in a notebook. When I have a moment, I’m going to read a few and pray for those. I’m going to rejoice when God answers and continue praying when He seems silent.
Pray for my kids and my husband daily on the car ride to school. They need my prayers. I need the reminder of entrusting my most precious people to God.
When someone asks me to pray for them, I’m going to do it right then. I will forget if I don’t do it immediately.
Continue to pray regularly with my kids at meals and at bedtime. They need to see me model a prayer-filled life. They need to learn to talk to God.
Stop being frustrated if I don’t journal my prayers or spend greater periods of time in prayer. Legalism can creep its ugly head at me in the worst ways. I can pray anytime, anywhere, in any way.
Most importantly, I’m going to remind myself of how I used to start each day: Lord, before my feet touch the floor, I begin to pray to You.