I had such high expectations for how I would raise my kids…before having kids. They were going to be well behaved (because I certainly wouldn’t have a child who thrashed about on the produce aisle at Cub); I would also pass on my faith to them naturally, considering how important my faith was to me; they would also be obedient, have good manners, be considerate of others, and do well in every single subject in school. Such was my fantasy.
But then I became a mother to real kids. Sleepless nights and busy days with “littles” upended my fantasy. Days turned into months, months turned into years, and then one morning I walked down the stairs for breakfast, and there before me, were two middle school girls … who had just months before seemed to be in matching booster seats!
Because prayer had always been important to me, I had assumed (in my optimism) that I would be one of those moms who regularly prayed for her kids and had to buy a new journal every few months. That was because pre-kids, I had been an avid journaler who loved to spend time with God that way. But post-kids, my only contemplation seemed to be whether or not I had time to actually catch a shower that day, or whether my kids could master carrying their own plates to the sink without leaving a handful of peas in their wake!
So while, yes, praying for them was important to me, life seemed to always get in the way.
I found, then, that my deep conviction for the power of prayer wasn’t enough to overcome the fact that I was often overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood. In my desire to carve out adequate time to do it well, I discovered that I often didn’t do it at all: my perfectionistic nature was sabotaging something that was meant to be simple and natural.
Eventually, I came to understand that when it comes to praying for our kids, we don’t have to do it perfectly; we just have to do it. A few minutes a day are enough; and those few minutes quickly add up to hours! I did the math – praying a mere 5 minutes each day adds up to 30 hours in a year!
Imagine the impact 30 hours of intercession for our children can make! Every prayer uttered is meticulously recorded on the heart of God. We may forget what we asked for last week, but he never will.
This is why I want to encourage all of you to keep up the good work of loving on and praying for your little ones. And if you need inspiration on the prayer front, here are a few “prayer hacks” that will hopefully help you!
Prayer Ideas for the Busy Mom
1. Heart calendar. Post a calendar on your wall and draw a heart on any day that you pray for your kids. Don’t feel you need to put a heart on every day of the month. but be encouraged when you look at your calendar and see a smattering of hearts across the month!
2. Multitask. Who says you need to be sitting in a chair having formal devotions in order to pray? Choose one activity you do every day (washing dishes, nursing a baby, etc.) and make it a habit to pray as you do it.
3. Special “Prayer time” box. Get a box and put in special toys and healthy snacks. Tell your children that this is their “prayer time box” and that it only comes out once a day when mommy is praying for them.
4. Bedtime. Every night after tucking your child into bed, spend several minutes at their bedside praying for them. Offering them up to the ONE they truly belong to is a beautiful way to close their day.
5. Five-second prayer hack. For those who find themselves in a season of sheer survival mode I suggest the five second prayer hack. It goes something like this: “Help me, Jesus!” (Feel free to personalize or create your own variation. ☺)
And one last final point, heaven knows that we beat ourselves up, compare ourselves too often, and regularly feel we are not doing enough, but GOD knows the great task before us, and he lovingly supports and cares for our needs, whether or not we have time at the end of an exhausting day to breathe out a prayer. So just know that you are doing a great job, mama. Keep believing that when you partner with HIM, no matter how big or how small, amazing things can happen!
(By the way, I’m the mom I mentioned above whose child was thrashing about. Only it wasn’t at Cub, it was at Barnes and Noble. Which I can tell you from experience, is much worse). ☺
Holli Aparicio is a wife and homeschooling mom to Lydia (11) and Sofia (10). She is passionate about equipping others to encounter God in prayer and to learn to hear his voice. She loves the mountains, the ocean, blue skies, and sunny days (which is why she enjoys taking frequent vacations in the winter ☺). She lives with her family in Maple Grove, MN.