Time in God’s Word is essential for our growth in Christ, as discussed on Monday. And the natural partner to time in God’s Word, is time in prayer. But realistically speaking, how does a Mom with her hands and her time full, gain moments to pray? With only 24 hours in each day and countless needs which all seem vital tucked within this span, how is it possible to do any of it well? Or, to do it at all?
Time management is a topic about which many books have been written, and likely written well. But it is also a sensitive topic, because we are all wired so uniquely, with differing sleep-schedules and personalities, and sometimes trying to “fit” a specific schedule can be daunting and discouraging. Thankfully, God often uses women who have walked the path before us, to give us sound counsel and guidance, to help direct us in His ways.
While pregnant with my first baby, I was advised by a wise woman in my church, to use her night-time feedings as a time of prayer. This friend is a grounded and beautiful woman, and so I took her words to heart and committed to praying for my family at least once in the night. Time up in the dark with a needy baby was less lonely when I thought of that time as communing with God Himself. Scripture tells us that God never slumbers nor sleeps, and I took Him to task on that promise!
I know that many Moms struggle with guilt induced over not spending adequate time in prayer. But the infant years are in a category all their own, and we need to remember that God is merciful and gracious toward us in our parenting. He has given us tiny, needy children to love, but He knows better than anyone that the task is difficult and the years are chaotic. Rather than drowning in guilt and feeling immersed in discouragement because we cannot find a devotional groove, maybe it would help to think about time with the Lord differently.
For instance, think of the night-time feedings of an infant. Generally, newborns are up 3-4 times each night, often for 30 minutes from feed to change time. That is 2 hours that Mom or Dad(or both) are awake in the night. What if just one of those evening feedings was devoted to prayer? Or what if the first few moments of each awake time was devoted to prayer? Just by waking up with your baby, you can gain 30 quiet moments with the Lord. Or 10 minutes of prayer 2x each night. Or 5 minutes of prayer x4 feedings. Rather than wait until the day begins when you are weary and frazzled, get a head-start on things and commit your way to the Lord in the night- He is awake anyway!
It also helps to realize that while structured time of quiet prayer is lovely, in the “little years” prayer is more likely to look on-the-fly many days. A frazzled Mom can still pray, though! Pray while loading the dishwasher. Pray while folding laundry. Pray while showering and the noise is drowned out. Pray as you look at photos of your family and friends, and you are reminded of them. Pray while driving back and forth from carpool. Pray without ceasing, and rather than wishing for a continuum of peaceful, quiet time, just think about the numerical nature of your prayers. Twenty minutes in the night + 2 minutes while loading the dishwasher + 2 minutes while folding clothes + 5 minutes while showering + 3 minutes while driving = 32 minutes of prayer. What an awesome thing!
And avoid comparison. A Mom immersed in young motherhood will have a largely different devotional life than a Mom whose children are teenagers and wish to sleep until eternity. There are times and there are seasons, and in order to enjoy the season we are in, we need to allow ourselves grace to do the best we can in our setting. What is important, is that you DO pray. So, pray about prayer. Ask God to open your eyes to see where and how you can pray. Ask Him to show you where you can fit in more prayer. And then, see prayer as a continual communing with God.
We are meant to commune with God all day anyway. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 advises us to: Be joyful always, pray continually. God is wise, He knows our needs, He knows what is best. And perhaps in the deep need of exhausting mothering, in the constant interruption of moments we wish were strung together more fluidly, we can rejoice that God is teaching us a profound and simple truth : to pray without ceasing.