Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

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 for pre-order now!

Pre-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

The Quiet Work You’re Doing Matters, Mama

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two girls playing on bed

Mid-morning light spills through the kitchen window as I stand at the sink washing dishes.  “Mom, Caleb just punched me!” 3-year-old Aiden calls from the living room. “He took the remote right out of my hands!” Caleb contends. “I saw the whole thing happen,” their big sister interjects. “It was totally Caleb’s fault.  He started the whole thing.” “Mind your own business!” Caleb barks as he charges toward his sister with his fist in the air. It takes every ounce of restraint I can muster, but I manage not to get sucked into the yelling match happening in front of...

Keep Reading

Wear the Pretty Underwear

In: Faith, Grief, Living, Loss
Woman in evening gown, color photo

This week was monumental.  After 15 years, I finally finished a bottle of Victoria’s Secret perfume. I just wish I would have emptied it sooner.  It was one of those special occasion luxuries because it was not cheap. For years, I had saved this decadent perfume for date nights and holidays. It was too fancy for everyday use. And then, I was widowed without warning. My husband was here one minute, then gone the next. Impossible. Unfair. Traumatic. RELATED: What If Tonight Was Your Last Chance To Have Sex With Your Husband? But we were going to die in our...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Raising My Child’s Future Spouse

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy lying on car seat with puppy, color photo

Oh, hey there friend, you don’t know me yet or maybe you do, but at least for now neither of us know that our children will one day commit their lives to each other and by doing so forever knit our families together. One day, we will all sit in the front aisles of a church filled with scores of people who have influenced our babies, but none like us. No one else in that church will know the intentionality, love, and grace of God that it took to reach that day, but we will. The work you are doing...

Keep Reading

Spanking Made Us Parents We Didn’t Want To Be

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of mother pointing finger at child

Fourteen years ago when my husband and I were preparing for our first child, we felt we already had several tools in our toolbox. Both of us worked with children and youth, and we felt prepared for parenting. We decided early on that we would never spank unless we were completely out of options.  As our bright, sweet, bubbly firstborn entered the terrible fours (yes, he was a bit delayed in his toddler rebellion), we were surrounded by a community of people who believed in “controlled spanking” with hugs and grace afterward.  RELATED: These 6 Words Transformed Discipline in Our...

Keep Reading

I Was Raised by an Easter-Only Mom and I Want More for My Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter read Bible

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted, and women tend to look to their upbringing for guidance. We may not even realize we’re doing it! But being a godly mother is even more difficult when you weren’t raised by one. The questions are endless: How do I model forgiveness? How do I set the right priorities for my household? How do I explain baptism to my 6-year-old? Is it okay to have undiscipled friends around my children? Do we have to pray over every meal? Is the occasional swear word acceptable?  These questions may be less intimidating if you were fortunate enough...

Keep Reading

Even When it Feels Like I Can’t, I Keep Going

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom holding toddler

When I feel like I can’t do one more thing. When I am overwhelmed and touched out and lost in the logistics of it all. When my physical and mental energy are depleted. When the length of my to-do list needs more hours than I have. When I am so bone tired that I’m sure I just can’t go on. And there is still more to do. And the only choice is to keep going– I keep going. I dig a little deeper and find strength I didn’t know I had. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

Ordinary Mornings, Extraordinary Grace

In: Faith
Emily Ley holding Sure as the Sunrise book by water's edge

“From his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Today, take note of what brings you gladness. That which gives you pause or causes you to take a deep breath. These are glimpses of God’s goodness in our lives, brought to life through moments and things, memories and sounds. Realizations and hope. In its biggest forms: a moment you wish you could freeze in time, and in its smallest: a sliver of grace, otherwise overlooked. I wake up to the smell of fresh laundry, sheets cool against my skin. One eye open, I peek down at the...

Keep Reading

She Just Needed to be Held

In: Faith, Motherhood
A little girl held by mom, color photo

“She just needed to be held,” I texted my husband after a two-hour battle to get my 3-year-old to bed. She’s been sick. Daddy’s been gone. And she needed to be seen. Held. Loved. And in that split second, I felt God say, “Just like you.” When things are chaotic. When we feel alone. When we feel weary. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama When our spirit feels sick. When it all feels like too much to carry. We need Him. To breathe life into us. To remind us of our worth. To remind us of the hope He offers....

Keep Reading