My heart’s desire is to be a woman of prayer, but more often than not, I feel like a failure as a pray-er. As a busy mom, it is sometimes all I can do to cry out to the Lord at sunrise with a quick, “Help me!’ before the son rises inside the house and my girls start crying out to me with the same plea.
If I miss my quiet-time window of opportunity in the morning, the shattering of that pane is immediately felt as I realize that there is very little chance for peace and quiet until after everyone is in bed. (That is, of course, after the second drink of water and the third good-night kiss.) By that time I’m typically so exhausted I can barely whisper, “I’m sorry, Lord. I promise to do better tomorrow.”
With sincere resolve I begin the next day on my knees covering my family in prayer only to find my wandering mind suddenly thinking thoughts like, “Oh no, we only have crusts left to make sandwiches for lunch.” “Did they cancel baseball practice today?” “I can’t forget to write a note for this afternoon’s orthodontist appointment.” “Oh, I’m sorry, Lord, now where were we?”
My prayers are broken into yet again, but this time by an audible voice, “Mom, I can’t find my science homework. Where did you put it?” Where did I put it? It is your responsibility to keep up with your own . . . And we’re off! Another race against the clock with only seconds to spare for a few “popcorn prayers” shot up to the Lord throughout one more busy day in the life of a mom.
I truly believe that God understands this unique season in a mother’s life. Thankfully, our heavenly Father looks on the hearts of mothers with compassion and understanding. He is not peering down, shaking His head with a “Tsk, tsk, I guess I’m going to have to give her a miserable day because she didn’t get the requisite amount of prayer time logged.”
Remembering the merciful character of God has comforted me on many occasions when the enemy has attempted to hammer me with feelings of guilt because I wasn’t the prayer warrior I wanted to be. In my estimation I was a “General” in the Lord’s army. Not because I had earned the highest ranking for a soldier but because it seemed it was all I could do to find enough time for even general prayers. “Lord, bless my husband today. Help my children in school. Please provide the money we need to pay all of our bills. And help me to be the wife and mother You want me to be. In Jesus’s name, amen.”
God hears those prayers, and He answers them! But I desperately wanted more. I longed for the time to pray for details like my husband’s personal walk with the Lord and his relationships with his coworkers. I wanted to saturate my children in prayer for their future and matters of the heart. I felt guilty for not praying for my pastor and the president. And when I told friends, “I’ll pray for you,” I really did mean to do just that.
I always had the best of intentions to pray for all these things. But you’ve probably heard the ugly adage, “The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.” I decided I didn’t like that saying (even if it did contain a nugget of truth), so I created my own personal prayer binder and titled it The Pathway to Heaven Is Prayed with Good Intentions.
On individual slips of paper, I wrote down everything and everyone I would ever want to pray for. I came up with around three hundred different prayer concerns, and I organized them into ten categories. By praying for one thing from each category every day, I was able to cover all three hundred prayer needs in one month! I felt like a bona fide prayer warrior.
It felt so good to know that once a month I would cover health for my husband, purity for my children, diet struggles for me, prayers for my friends, relatives, and even Jerusalem. All I needed was ten minutes a day, and I could pray for the world, and more specifically, my world. There were even some days when I got carried away and realized I had been praying for thirty minutes without looking at my watch or refereeing a sibling argument.
This prayer system transformed my own life so much that I couldn’t wait to share it with my online friends through my Web site. Over the next few days and months, I received tons of excited e-mails from moms everywhere who were using this method. They shared the joy and peace they experienced, knowing their lives, though busy, were wrapped in prayer.
The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer is the result of my desire to create a product moms could pick up and immediately jump right into enjoying a fulfilling (full and filling!) life of prayer. All you need is a few minutes a day, five days a week and voila—out with the guilt and in with the power! This book has been adapted from my homemade version to make it versatile enough to fit your prayer needs.
You will notice that the book has twenty days of prayer. You can use these twenty days anytime that works best for you, but the idea is that there are prayer guidelines for five days a week for a month. Then when the first month is over, you can do what I do with my prayer guide and start over again. The prayers outlined in this book need to be lifted up over and over again.
Each day has six prayer categories. Each category begins with a Scripture Inspiration and a section for Praying the Word. I have discovered that it is much easier for me to pray with faith when I can ground my requests in the promises of God. There is an immeasurable dimension of anointing that comes along with lining our words up with the Word of God.
The Prayer Prompt can be interpreted two ways. If you can only steal a few minutes to pray while waiting in the carpool lane at school, then promptly repeat the suggested prayers and rest easy knowing your concerns are covered. If, on the other hand, you would like to linger on a particular petition then simply use the proposed prayer as a springboard, or prompt, to dive into deeper conversation with the Lord.
I have chosen six of the most mom-requested categories. They are Praise, Self, Husband, Children, Personal Influences, and Reaching Beyond. Beginning on day 1, I have broken each of these down even further into twenty prayer focuses—one focus per day.
For instance, on the very first day, in the Praise category, you will begin praising the Lord for His holiness. Then, in the Self category, you will pray for wisdom; godly priorities in the Husband category; future spouse in the Children category; the personal needs of your pastor in the Personal Influences category; and finally, you’ll conclude by lifting up the president of the United States in the Reaching Beyond category.