Black Friday Deals Inside!🎄

One of my longtime favorite places to pray has been in the car. Those rare and stolen moments of solitude as a mother are somehow the safest and quietest place for me to talk to God. When my daughter started Mother’s Day Out as a 2-year-old, I decided to try something new and began a habit of praying aloud in the car on our way to school.

It started for two reasons:

One, I’m not very comfortable praying out loud in front of others and I figured that my daughter might be a safe audience to practice on. The prayers our family shares each evening before bed are sacred, but stepping into the daylight to speak to my Lord felt appropriately daring and necessary.

Two, I hoped that if I was willing to be vulnerable in this way that my daughter would grow up feeling more confident in her own prayer life.

So, two days a week, at some point on our 20-minute drive, I would turn down the radio and ask my daughter if I could pray for her.

RELATED: A Prayer For Daughters

There were days that she would say no, to which I would respectfully respond with, “That’s OK, I’ll just pray quietly today.” I would lift my own silent prayer and we would go about our day.

Most times she would say yes and listen as I prayed to God. After my genuine desire to give my joys and concerns to God, I very much hoped to show my daughter that I care about her and the people in our lives.

As a woman with a longtime feeling that there was a certain recipe for proper prayer, I also hoped to demonstrate that prayer sometimes looks like simply talking to God. Polished or messy. Playful or sorrowful. Short or lengthy. Wherever you are, God is there, and however you’re feeling, God can handle it.

On those days, praying out loud in front of my daughter while driving down the highway, I freestyled prayers like this one and lifted them to my God.

“Dear God, I am thankful that we all got a good night’s sleep and are healthy today. I’m thankful for the food in our bellies and the clothes that we are wearing. Thank you for how hard Daddy works to take care of us and I pray that he has a great day at work today. I pray for my daughter to have a great day at school and that You would help her to be kind and respectful to her teachers and friends. Please be with me today and help us all to share your love with others. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.”

As I wrapped up that prayer one morning, I heard the sweetest words from the back seat.

“Wait. I thank you for Daddy and my baby doll and my blanket. I thankful for Mommy. I pray that Grandpa feels better soon.”

I let the moment linger as I soaked up the words that my daughter dared to pray, and then she said, “Amen.”

“Amen,” I joined in.

We’ve continued this habit of praying out loud together in the car before school or special events. Now two years into the practice, sometimes I say the prayer alone, sometimes my daughter has things to contribute, and once or twice she’s asked to pray by herself. Sometimes the prayers are sweet and songlike. Sometimes the prayers feel more like form letters where we’ve filled in the blanks. Sometimes the prayers are short and to the point. Sometimes they are pleas for patience or forgiveness. Sometimes they are for those most dear in our lives. Sometimes they are for the black car driving too fast or the man standing on the corner or the fun thing we are looking forward to or our dogs at home.

Always, the prayers are worth my time and intention to lift up the things on my heart, to share those moments with my daughter, to show her that prayer comes in many forms, and to call on a God that is ALWAYS there for us.

That is why, as a new school year continues and our morning routine shifts into gear, I will still turn down the radio on our morning commute and ask, “Daughter, can I pray for you today?”

You may also like:

A Prayer For Daughters

Dear Child, Not a Day Goes By That I Don’t Pray For You

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Mandy McCarty Harris

Mandy McCarty Harris lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, young daughter, three dogs, and eleven backyard chickens. She writes about living happily in the messy middle of life. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and at

When You Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

In: Faith, Living
Woman sad looking out a winter window

It’s hard to admit, but some years I have to force myself to decorate for Christmas. Some years the lights look a little dimmer. The garlands feel a bit heavier. And the circumstances of life just aren’t wrapped in a big red bow like I so wish they were. Then comparison creeps in like a fake Facebook friend and I just feel like hiding under the covers and skipping it all. Because I know there’s no way to measure up to the perfect life “out there.” And it all just feels heavier than it used to. Though I feel alone,...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

To the Woman Longing to Become a Mother

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Woman looking at pregnancy test with hand on her head and sad expression

To the woman who is struggling with infertility. To the woman who is staring at another pregnancy test with your flashlight or holding it up in the light, praying so hard that there will be even the faintest line. To the woman whose period showed up right on time. To the woman who is just ready to quit. I don’t know the details of your story. I don’t know what doctors have told you. I don’t know how long you have been trying. I don’t know how many tears you have shed. I don’t know if you have lost a...

Keep Reading

I Was There to Walk My Mother to Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Hand holding older woman's hand

I prayed to see my momma die. Please don’t click away yet or judge me harshly after five seconds. I prayed to see, to experience, to be in the room, to be a part of every last millisecond of my momma’s final days, final hours, and final moments here on Earth. You see, as a wife of a military man, I have always lived away from my family. I have missed many birthdays, celebrations, dinners, and important things. But my heart couldn’t miss this important moment. I live 12 hours away from the room in the house where my momma...

Keep Reading

God Sent Me to You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Newborn gazing at mother with father smiling down

I was a little unsure As I left God’s warm embrace: What will it be like? What challenges will I face? There were so many questions Running through my mind. I asked around for the answers I was hoping to find. Who will hold me And cuddle me tight? Who will rock me To sleep at night? RELATED: The Newborn Nights Feel As Endless As My Love For You Who will comfort me When I’ve had a rough day? Who will be there To take my worries away? Who will nourish me And make sure I grow? Who will read...

Keep Reading

Addiction Doesn’t Get the Final Say Over My Son

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman praying with head bowed

She is so tired. It is a kind of tired that no amount of sleep or rest can alleviate. It is a kind of tired that surpasses physical and even mental fatigue. It is a tiredness of soul—a tiredness that comes from wondering, and grieving, and not knowing how to save her son from the drugs the enemy has bound him up in. She kneels alone on the floor in her bedroom closet. This is where she came when the fear and the uncertainty and the panic started to creep into her heart again. She came here to pray, though...

Keep Reading

I Want to Be a Praying Mama

In: Faith, Motherhood
Dirt road at dusk

I want to be that praying mama. The one who stops on the side of the road when the time seems fit, just to take those few short, undistracted moments to lift my kids up to God. I want to be that praying mama. The one who prays while she drives down the road to schools and lifts each one up as they exit the car for the start of their day. RELATED: Praying For Your Kids is Holy Work of Motherhood I want to be that praying mama. The one who does it so much that the youngest doesn’t...

Keep Reading

Blessed Are Those Who Can’t Even

In: Faith, Living
Woman rubbing temples with hands, color photo

We argued about an orange last night after dinner. Not even a large orange. A tiny mandarin. As emotions escalated between my beloved husband and me, the eldest child graciously removed herself from the table and donned noise-canceling headphones while the smallest child openly snickered and was dispatched to her room to play while we hashed things out in “peace.” I’d love to say that was the most insane thing we’ve ever argued about, but that would be a lie. My kids love to remind us about the breadstick incident a few years back. Life has been a bit overwhelming...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Want My Sons Growing Up Thinking I Wanted a Daughter

In: Faith, Motherhood
Two boys smiling

“Are you trying for a girl?” They ask this question under the assumption we will try for a third child and will be disappointed if we don’t finally get our girl. And by “they,” I mean almost everyone we encounter these days. What if, medically, we can’t have another? And what if we are content with the two boys we’ve been blessed with? In a world where having one of each means your family is complete, it’s easy to feel like a failure if you’ve only been given one child or children of one gender. Or no children at all....

Keep Reading

I Want to Be a Mother with that Kind of Faith

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and children walking on beach

I am beginning to think God gives us children specifically for the purpose of growing our faith. What greater faith can a person have than to completely hand over their child into His hands? I want to be a mama with that kind of faith. I have been inspired by the incredible faith of several moms around me. Moms who have lost their children. Moms who have almost lost their children. Moms who almost lose their children over and over due to ongoing health conditions. I have not made it there myself yet—to that place where I put my child’s life...

Keep Reading