A few years ago I participated in an in depth study of prayer. At the time I was a mom of four. We had recently completed our first adoption and were attempting to navigate the complicated blessing of open adoption. We were fostering a sweet 4 year old who came to us without yet having been potty trained. Life was kind of nutty. I needed prayer, but my prayer life had grown stale.
Our group was comprised of women of all ages. Young moms and grandmas all came together and I was relieved to know I wasn’t the only one who struggled to have a healthy prayer life. We grew close during that study as we talked and cried and learned about prayer. I think we all walked away with tools to strengthen our prayer muscles. My biggest takeaway is one that I still use today. It really boils down to just a minor change in wording but it has significantly changed my perspective.
When we began that study on prayer, I was in the habit of beginning my days by praying my way through them. It would go something like this: “God, be with me as I drive to work. Be with me as I go throughout my workday. Please be with me on my drive home. Be with me as I prepare dinner. Be with me as I help the kids with their homework. Be with me as I tuck them into bed.”
Was there anything wrong with the way I was praying? Probably not. But one day it hit me that I was asking for something that God had already promised. And God always keeps His promises. He assures me over and over and over again that he will never leave me or forsake me, that He will be with me wherever I go. Why keep asking for what He is already doing? He was holding up His end of the bargain already. Where did the change need to take place? IN ME.
At the end of the study on prayer I had modified my morning prayers to sound more like this: “God, help me recognize your presence as I am driving to work. Help me remember you are right there as I go throughout my workday. Allow me to see you as we gather around the dinner table. God, help me recognize your presence as I tuck my kids in bed at night.”
As a result of this simple change, I have become more aware. I am able to see Him working in my life. I have assumed some responsibility in my relationship with God. I am looking for Him as I go throughout my days. And the really cool part? I see Him more and more. It’s incredible what I see when I remember to look.
Maybe today you might consider a small shift in your own prayer life. No need for a huge overhaul. Maybe you just need to stop asking God to be with you. Instead, realize He already is.
Read more of Abbie Mabary’s contributions to allmomdoes here.