Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prayer Time

In response to one of the questions from last week, I will share some thoughts on prayer time as a mom. Julie asked what my prayer time was like, the when, the where, the how. She has 3 little ones and wonders how to work prayer in there.

Let's be realistic first. If at this stage in your life you wake up to crying baby sounds every morning, it is difficult to get that morning prayer in there. I really believe the Lord is understanding of the difficulties presented by the 24 hour job of motherhood especially of little ones. You just do the best you can, which is never going to be enough, and then you pray the Lord will forgive you for all you can't do and ask Him to make up for the rest.

Right now, I wake to silence. There has been ample time for prayer lately. And there has been ample need too. I wake up every morning and orient myself to my reality. I lay in bed thinking in circles. 

"I hate the silence. How can I do this? This is real. She is gone. There will be no cry any minute. Okay. I can do this. It is not as bad as it was at first. It took me almost 30 seconds after I woke up to remember today. I have to do this. I have three beautiful girls to raise. Yes. I have three wonderful beautiful girls. I am blessed. So blessed. I am so grateful for them. And I am grateful to have had Camille too. Geez, how I miss her. Yes, there is the silence. This is real. This is my life now. Keep focused Stephanie. Firm up your mind. Don't let it go back there. Don't think back to that day. Keep it in today. Today I need to get Sabrina up for school. Today I have bills to pay. I need to get up. Where is my waking cry?"

This ring of thought goes on for a few minutes. Then I finally roll out of bed and if it is early (before 7:30) I pray right then. If it is 7:30 or later I go climb in bed with Sabrina to wake her up so she can get ready for school. She is slow to wake. When she is alert, I challenge her to a race to dress, pray, make beds, and head downstairs. 

I then head to my closet. By the time I get my contacts in and get dressed, Sabrina is finished and heads downstairs for breakfast. Then I take a few minutes to pray in my closet and beg for strength to make it through the day.

I read scriptures to the girls while they eat breakfast and we say a family prayer whenever Jon can get a break and come out of the office to join us. 

At night, I pray just before crawling in bed. Everyone else is usually asleep. I am usually tired. But that is the time I need the prayers the most. Some nights I pray in my closet so I can cry without waking up Jon. On really bad nights, I go to Camille's room to pray. 

In the quiet stillness of the night, I can often feel the heavenly presence of ministering angels when I need them most. Last night, laying on the bed in Camille's room, holding her blanket and praying, they were there. Generations of women who knew my pain, who lived my pain in their own lives, filled the room. I felt them there with their daughters. Empathizing with my current pain and strengthening my faith and hope for the future.

How do I pray? I think the Lord hears and answers all prayers no matter how you pray, but this is how I pray. When possible, I kneel as a sign of humility and reverence. I close my eyes and bow my head. Then, I start with "Dear Heavenly Father." Then I thank Him for the blessings of my life. I speak out loud or think the words in my head depending on if I am alone. Next, I ask for the spiritual and temporal blessings I desire and I think will be in line with His will. Included in this part is asking both for forgiveness, grace, and the ability to forgive. I express my feelings to Him just as I would if He were right in front of me and we were having a conversation. I express my love and gratitude again, listening in my heart and mind for thoughts or impressions that are not mine. Then I close "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I hope that answers your question Julie. We just pray when we can and keep a prayer always in our hearts. The Lord knows our limitations. When we need to pray the most, we find a way. Even if it means locking ourselves in the bathroom for our own "time out." Thank you again everyone for all your prayers. I feel their strength.