My New Year’s resolution is to pray more with my kids.
My making a New Year’s resolution to pray more with my kids seems odd, since I’m an empty-nester mom. When they were little, I prayed with them at regular times. As they grew up, I prayed with them more frequently, as uncertain situations came up. Even when they were out of the house and still single, we usually ended our Skype times with prayer. So how did it happen that I started telling my kids frequently that I’ll pray for them about things, rather than just doing it with them right then?
I’m sure part of it is the lack of being physically in the same place.
Praying over the phone or by text just doesn’t occur to me sometimes. I remember the first time my sister suggested praying for me over the phone. I was shocked. And then ashamed at myself for being shocked. Of course, God hears us over the phone. I just wasn’t used to it. But my sister’s prayer for me that day blessed me inexpressibly. I have no memory of what she prayed for that day, but I’ve never forgotten that she did. Over the phone. After that, I determined to start praying with others over the phone. And I have.
But sometimes phone conversations end unexpectedly before a chance to pray.
Sometimes during a phone conversation a child needs my daughter’s attention, and she has to end the conversation. Why couldn’t I say, “Lord, please help ______ with this difficult situation right now” as I hang up? I could. I need to highlight our talking to God in all the little things.
And other times conversations go on for a while, with someone explaining a troublesome situation and my listening. When the conversation is over and I’ve promised to pray about it, I realize I should have done it with her on the phone. That would have blessed her. And God promises that he is with us in a special way when we are gathered together praying.
Other times my own tasks get in the way.
I may get a text about a need or suddenly remember someone’s situation. But I’m in the middle of something or feel the need to get quickly to the next thing I need to do. I tell myself I’ll pray silently while I do whatever is next. Then I sometimes forget.
I had an ironic reminder of this yesterday. I had just begun writing this blog and had written the sentence about telling my daughter I’m praying for her and then postponing it. Just then I received a text from a friend with a heavy heart. As I started to text back, “I’m praying for you,” I jolted myself. Oops. Remember my New Year’s resolution. I need to do it right now. So I called her and prayed with her right then. I need to do that more.
Here’s the thing: We all need others to pray for us.
Our kids need our prayers. Our friends need our prayers. And our relatives and the many, many other people in our lives need our prayers. And all of us thrive by knowing someone is praying for us. Vocal prayer for us in our presence is tangibly loving. It warms us with the feeling of God’s love expressed by one of our people.
But silent prayer is powerful too, especially if the person asks us about the prayed-for need later. That act of checking with us later makes it clear that someone has brought our needs directly to the throne of God for us. We feel God’s love in the action of our friend or relative. Or even in a stranger who prayers for us.
I am praying that God reminds me frequently of my New Year’s resolution to pray more with my kids–and more with other people too. And what better way to show our kids–whatever their ages–the love of God than a New Year’s resolution to pray with them more!