I recently cleaned out the drawer of my nightstand. It was crammed with old papers, books, mismatched earrings, and all-around junk. Inside, I stumbled upon some of my old journals. I opened them and began skimming the tattered pages. My stomach sank at what I read.
I flipped page upon page and inside was scrawled the same thing over and over again: prayer requests for other people. Entire journals were filled with the names of friends, family, and even acquaintances. Next to their names were very specific prayer requests for these people in my life: to find a job, to get pregnant, to be brave enough to combat a mental illness, to help heal the sick. The lists went on and on. I felt sick because after becoming a mother, I just don’t pray like I used to.
Yes, now that I am a mother I often pray for others before going to sleep at night. I think of those off the top of my head and drift off to sleep. I pray for my own children, too. But you know who I pray for hourly? Myself. The truth is that since becoming a mother, I’ve never needed God more. Motherhood is much harder than I ever could have dreamed. So unfortunately, when I talk to God, it’s all about me and my ability to mother.
As I prepare lunch for the kids and they whine about the carrots I’m putting on their plates, I ask God for patience. And then within the next breath, I ask for His forgiveness when I fail by raising my voice at them. I ask God to help me guide my children through various problems, to help me find my identity again, and to heal those closest to me who may need it. But to sit down and dedicate time, ample time, to others by sitting down and raising up a prayer from my heart . . . that just doesn’t happen since having kids.
And I regret that. I know by thinking of others and taking pen to paper, it will not only help others in my life, but me, too. I mean, isn’t that how I want to raise my children? Of course, it is. I want them to know you must, you absolutely must, pray for others daily. Even people you do not know personally. Even people you don’t necessarily get along with. Even people you don’t like. Prayer must occur outside of yourself.
So, from now on, before closing my eyes at night and resting my head on the pillow that calls my name, I open those old journals and continue where I left off before I became a mother. I’ve dusted off those journals and began writing down prayer requests again like I used to. Yes, having kids in your life makes for much less time for other things and your energy is often depleted. But I must always make time for others, especially in prayer. Because the power of prayer is real. I know it is. I have felt it and seen it in action.
Because of other people’s prayers for my mother (and yes with the help of excellent doctors), my mother survived advanced cancer. She is three years in remission now. And without others praying for her, who knows if she would still be here today. I like to believe that prayer helped. Yes, I fervently believe that by others taking the sincere time out of their day to pray helped save my mother’s life. So, the least I can do is open up those prayer journals for a few minutes every single evening and lift up those prayers to those in my life who need it.
Because you never know, those prayers might just help save a life.