When my kids were little, I learned a lesson from Trish that I've never forgotten. She told me how her mother-in-law, my Great Aunt Elizabeth (gramma's sister), talked to her about prayer in the life of a mother. That when your children are small, you must learn to pray while doing other things. And so Trish told me how she prayed while doing dishes, sang worship as she rocked her babies and kept it in her heart to care for her girls in an attitude of prayerfulness always because not often can the mom of little ones close herself into a room for uninterrupted time with the Lord.
Then Trish told me how Aunt Elizabeth spoke of growing older and no longer having her own five little boys at home in need of her. How she naturally began to fill those moments and then hours of that time in prayer she hadn't been able to afford for so many years. And so that time once given to the physical care and attention of her young family was now given in equal measure to their spiritual needs. I remember thinking then, with two little boys of my own, that someday I'd be this wise woman who held her children before the Lord on bended knee in quiet rooms. I looked forward to that time when I would have the luxury of praying without the sound of crashing and crying in the background!
I am thankful for that conversation that seemed to happen in passing twenty or so years ago. It comes back to me often now, that promise to myself and to God that I would no longer pray only while doing something else but that I would take the time once given to baths and bottles and use it for intercession and praise. I am not always so focused as to use this time wisely as life and the way it has changed has not really given me back time in equal measure. No longer are there many women whose children are grown and yet who remain homemakers. The time of baths and bottles seems to have been seamlessly replaced with work during the day and chores in the evening left undone during the previous eight hours. My dream of putting aside an hour each morning in the quiet of my home to be with the Lord didn't happen quite the way I imagined it for my Aunt Elizabeth.
How important it is to not put old-fashioned prayer on the list of out-dated and antiquated notions. I drive around town and see signs for this church or that church offering scripture, hope and inspirational ideas. I see news stories about people gathering to clean up a park or donate school supplies. My own church had a baptism service yesterday with a picnic as 80 people made a public declaration of their faith. All good things. But I hope that this has not done for others which it has sometimes done for me. Pushed private prayer quietly into the background of public faith. All of these moments of outreach, love in flesh leave eternal footprints, I know. And yet none will resound with the echoes of a person behind a closed door daring to boldly go before the face of God to plead on behalf of her children, her husband, her nation. The son who attends a mission trip with his youth group because he is inspired to reach out with the love of Christ is beautiful. But the child who lives daily with an almost physical need to touch Christ himself will be the one whose impact is unlimited by moments in time.
Every organized moment in the name of Jesus is only a shadow of the effect of quiet and personal prayer that invites the Holy Spirit to dwell among men.
Thank you Trish for sharing Aunt Elizabeth's lessons all of those years ago. And now, the lesson is is shared again.
Small grace: A brand new bag of Gold Toe socks!