There used to be so much to pray about: what to study in college, how to spend my summers, who to marry, where to live, and piles of friends who were all making the same decisions. Leaning on God to avoid anxiety was necesary during that time. Then one day I was a mom, at home, and what I needed to be doing was obvious: take care of the home, do my wifey thing, and care for my children. I didn’t need to pray about whether or not to change a diaper or if I should vacuum. And we were settled. We owed a very affordable home. My husband had a job. I needed to pray for patience and wisdom, but prayer didn’t feel as urgent as it used to. Oh I still prayed, but they were short and rather like playing the same CD over and over again.
There would be periods of big prayer times: new jobs, moving, health issues. Generally though my prayer life was stunted. I had tried different formulas. Give thanks, Give praise, Ask for others, Ask for yourself. It didn’t stick. I knew prayer was supposed to be more than a list of requests. I liked the idea of praying scripture for people, but honestly, I didn’t know scripture well enough for most situations. Growing up the only prayers I heard were the ones that were part of the service (usually scripted) and the short meal prayer we used sometimes: God is great, God is good…..
I had seen her books for years: Stormie Omartian. She had so many books that sold well. Power of A Praying Wife. Power of a Praying Parent, Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, Power of a Praying Kid. I assumed this author had found a formula that sold and capitalized on it. Who could possibly be an expert in all those areas? I was passing judgement without reading a word.
Early in my mothering, I read the first chapter of Power of Praying Wife while browsing at the library. It hit me like a rock in the stomach. It was powerfully convicting. Still, I put the book away and didn’t finish it. A recent desire to pray for my husband and my kids more brought out the book plus Power of a Praying Parent and it has revolutionized my prayer life. Though we are still “settled” in a different affordable house, our schooling decisions are made, our future is clear unless God sends directions to change the course, and my husband has a different job that he loves. But now, the urgency to pray is back.
I knew I needed to pray for our life more. But really I didn’t know how. My mind would come up blank. It never occurred to me to pray for my girls’ relationship with their dad, for their desire to learn, for my husband’s work(he loved it and it appears secure), for his health (when he is not sick even), for his integrity, for my critical heart, for when I need to take better care of my body. I used to be a straight circumstantial prayerer.
The Power of a Praying….books are organized in a way that feeds my heart. Each short chapter has a brief explanation of the prayer topic, a prayer and scriptures to accompany the topic. I’ve actually gone through each book multiple times. The scripture help me change and refocus the prayers for different need, the topics help me cover all aspects of life with prayer. And my favorite part, many of the chapters focus on me. Because family life is not about them, it is about us, and my sins are part of the problem too. The longest and most difficult chapter in Power of a Praying Wife is the first one called, “His Wife.” Stormie helps me take the plank out of my own eye.
There are other great book out there on prayer. Do you have a favorite? How did you learn to prayer? What spurs you on to talk to God? I would love to know.