Prayer as a Last Resort

New post up at WORLDMag today.


This week has been uncharacteristically warm for a Midwestern April. As a result, my husband, Craig, and I found ourselves sitting on the back deck last night catching up after several weeks’ worth of baseball-consumed days (he coaches JV at a Christian high school).

The subject? The children, of course. Specifically, sin in the children. More specifically, our sin in our children.

There are about two or three times each year when I think it would just be so much easier to put our kids in school somewhere so I don’t have to deal with their sin on a 24-hour basis (and, honestly, so they don’t have to deal with mine). The default school I always look up on the internet during these times—despite a discount—would still require a financial sacrifice.

I was waxing eloquent on Twitter earlier this week about some of what I thought was going on:

“The baby and toddler years were a piece of cake. It’s this tween time that’s going to make me go gray early. . . . When they are three, it’s common sin that you see. When they are 11, it’s YOUR sin that you see in them. . . . And that makes the stress compounded by guilt b/c you know you are a hypocrite when you correct them. . . . *BIG SIGH*

As Craig and I were talking last night, I confessed I hadn’t been spending much time praying about the situation. You see, I have the problem of trying all other possibilities first and then, when all else fails, pray. Self-sufficiency is an idol of mine, and I love being (or at least pretending to be) completely in control of everything around me—my schedule, my time, my kids.

This, of course, is my problem.

My shame last night came in my admission that praying is so hard to do when you think you can just do something to fix it (“it” being whatever is going on at any given time). I admitted that I would almost rather sacrifice to find the money to send our kids to school than to find time in my day to earnestly pray for them.

Did I mention I have lost my desire to pray? This is my other problem.

When did daily family prayer time develop a cheesy connotation in my mind? I’m not sure, but Craig and I came to the conclusion that the enemy’s way of preventing us from going to God is by making us feel like we don’t need to.

But we do. And last night Craig initiated a family meeting at our new “headquarters”—the small landing in the middle of the stairs leading from the living room to the bedrooms—and all six of us piled into this little area to begin what we needed to begin a long time ago. We began praying as a family for each other.

And it was good.


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