Prayer: The Great Expectations {Guest Post}

I am so thrilled to introduce you to my dear friend Jacqui! As a mama for two littles, she has plenty to say on the journey of motherhood.

Prayer.

This can take many forms as a parent: thankful, worried, desperate, happy, joyful, pleading, repetitive…

My current ‘prayer of the day’ is something along the lines of ‘give me strength’. There are times when this is asked directly to God as a genuine prayer when I need help; and there are times when it is but a flippant phrase whispered under my breath as my child decides that the pasta he so desperately wanted, needed, life depended upon, is not at all what he wants, and that it is actually peanut butter and jam on toast that he has to have, right now. Now. NOW!!!

As a Christian I believe in prayer/praying to God. My prayer life has changed quite significantly since having children. My focus has changed also with regards to what I actually pray for, understandably, and the time in which I actually get to pray and be with God is far less concise than what it used to be.

The expectation I had when I was pregnant with my first, Charlie, was that nothing would change. I would still commit to my normal hour a day routine, I could definitely do it while baby napped, I would go to bed an hour earlier if needed, I would find that time in my day…

The reality, as I have since found out, is that as a mummy of a 7 month old and a 3.5 year old, I actually find having the time to go to the toilet a daily task – that wonderful 5 minutes of peace in the private* sanctuary that is the bathroom – let alone finding an hour to sit, peacefully and have time with God.

*absolutely completely public domain, where any shred of privacy gets thrown out of the window when you have a toddler asking questions about Lightning McQueen alongside a dog who has a penchant for resting his head on your feet while you sit on the toilet.

The reality is, there are days when I am a tired mum of two.

The reality is, there are days when my kids and dog have driven me to the brink of insanity and I just want a cup of tea in peace.

The reality is, I may have had the absolute best day with my kids, but one sentence into my bible study and I am in such a deep sleep I have already started to dribble.

The reality is there are nights when Charlie needs me.

The reality is, there are evenings where I am on my sixth dummy run up to Phoebe and the interruptions make it hard getting into a bible study.

The reality is there are days where I have absolutely nailed it and the kids are asleep, the house is tidy and the bible study is done.

I have learnt, and continue to learn, to embrace this daily change. If I fight it by putting unrealistic expectations on myself to have an uninterrupted hour, then I will always fall short to these unachievable standards which is completely counterproductive to what I want to achieve. My goal is to have time with God daily, be it an hour or be it ten minutes. By realising this, I have learnt my most important lesson so far, and possibly the simplest of them all: that in my walk with God, like with any other relationship, there are different seasons!

Alongside my own prayer life, I am an avid encourager/supporter to my children’s prayer lives. At 7 months, Phoebe obviously doesn’t quite understand prayer, but regardless of this I pray for her/over her/with her, so she understands and gets an insight into my own relationship with God; that she will understand and learn that this is what a relationship with God is, talking to him, thanking him, saying sorry, asking, being still in the storm…

There are things I have had to change within myself, and there are things I have had to learn with regards to teaching my children about prayer.

Firstly, I have never had this responsibility before, and although I have sometimes found it challenging, it has also been a lovely journey seeing my kids, particularly Charlie, develop their own relationship with God. It has also made me relearn exactly what it means to have a child like faith, and that has been a wonderful lesson.

Secondly, I have realised that the unrealistic expectations I was putting on myself and my own relationship with God, would sometimes overflow into the expectations I had for my children. I continually remind myself that I am a mummy with faith and that one of my many jobs is to encourage, assist, help and guide my children into their own relationship with God. I will not dictate to them what their faith should look like in God: they need to find it for themselves, that’s when true relationship is born.

When encouraging my children to pray, I have no expectations of Charlie sitting still for a deep devotional prayer, he is 3. My reality is to be thankful if any prayer is said at all! So with this in mind, I will leave you now with my top 5 ‘expectation v reality’ prayer moments based on my own experiences…

 

Praying for your children

 

Expectation

 

‘… Thank you that they listen, and thank you that they had such fun today. We pray tomorrow would be as good. Keep them safe God…’

 

Reality

 

‘…help me to be a better mum. Forgive me for shouting and lying about the chocolate being too broken to eat. Help me Lord to have more patience!! I pray so much that they would just stop hitting and that tomorrow they would be quicker to remember gentle hands…’

 

Praying with your children

 

Expectation

 

me. ‘…we thank you for your love and for today. I pray you would keep us safe as we sleep and bless our dreams, protect our bodies and be with us God…’

me and Charlie: ‘Amen’

 

Reality

 

me: ‘…we thank you for your love and…’

Charlie: ‘mummy mummy mummy did you know that bees make the honey and then we can eat it?’

Me: ‘I did know that, that’s so clever. Thank you God for bees, that…’

Charlie: ‘I love Gordon, he is my favourite train’

Me: ‘I know babes, but we are praying at the minute…

…Thank you for today that you kept us safe, keep us as we sleep…’

Charlie: ‘Neenah Neenah neenah’

Me: ‘Charlie, we are praying. We are talking to God, that’s really rude…

…bless our dreams, protect…’

Charlie: ‘can we have a story now?’

 

Let your children pray at mealtimes

 

Expectation

 

Charlie: ‘thank you for this lovely food Jesus, amen’

 

Reality

 

Charlie: ‘thank you Jesus for this delicious food. And thank you for mummy and daddy and Phoebe and Biffy Dog and nana and papa and Nain and Taid (Welsh for grandma and grandad) and for Tilly and Bertie and Jacob and Paw Patrol and Lightning McQueen and Mummy and daddy and Phoebe and Biffy Dog and Nana and Papa and….’

 

Let them thank Jesus for something

 

Expectation

 

Me: ‘Charlie would you like to say thank you to Jesus for something, like how you thank him downstairs at tea time for our food?’

Charlie: ‘thank you for my friends and thank you for mummy and daddy and Phoebe. I love you Jesus. Amen.’

 

Reality

 

Me: ‘Charlie would you like to say thank you to Jesus for something, like how you thank him downstairs at tea time for our food?’

Charlie: ‘thank you Jesus for this delicious food. Amen’

Me: ‘oh, no I mean thank him for something that isn’t our food, you know, a thank you prayer before bed’

Charlie: ‘thank you for Bertie’

Me: ‘lovely, and what is it about Bertie you want to say thank you for?’

Charlie: ‘thank you Lord Jesus that he has amazing orange trousers’

 

Never tell them you will read a story after prayers!!

 

Expectation

 

Me: ‘ok, we will say our prayer first and then we will have a story’

Charlie: ‘ok. Thank you Jesus for today and for my friends. Amen.’

 

Reality

 

Me: ‘ok, we will say our prayer first and then we will have a story’

Charlie: ‘thankyoulordjesusformummyanddaddyandphoebeandbiffyandmybestfriendbertieandthankyoufortillyamen!’

Me: ‘Charlie, go a bit slower poppet, remember you are talking to Jesus’

Charlie: ‘thankyoulordjesusformummyanddaddyandphoebeandbiffyandmybestfriendbertieandthankyoufortillyamen!’

 

On this journey of ‘mummyhood and faith: the great expectations of prayer’, I have learned many lessons, and continue to do so daily! This blog is most definitely not a ‘how to’, it is to encourage you, to inspire you to let go of the expectations, enjoy the reality that is, and to remember that our daily prayer of ‘Lord, give us Strength’ is sometimes the best we have to give.

x

12181901_10156147345675414_844126458_n

I am a mildly sarcastic Mum of two, wife to daddy H, owner of the marvellously mental Biffy dog. Tea drinker, biscuit muncher, cake maker, just rolling with the punches -sometimes literally – of motherhood, armed with a dry sense of humour (or wine) to get me through each day.

I am a Christian, and as much as I would love to say it, I am afraid that no, this doesn’t mean my kids are angels or that I am a perfect mum. I am just figuring out as best as I can this wonderful (if not slightly overwhelming) adventure of mummyhood, just like the rest of you supermums – but it does comfort me in my ‘mummy melt down’ and ‘Lord help me’ moments.

You can follow Jacqui on her Facebook page, and why not go over and check out her blog, Being Mama H.

 

Comments

  1. What wonderful perspective. I agree, my Bible times, and prayer times used be long and full of journaling, listening and responding. Now they are grabbed in the in-between moments of my children’s voices and demands. I know this is only a season, and while I try to teach them there are times when mommy needs to get something done – like spend time with God, they are kids, and they are learning. God is using them to show me just how patient He is with me

    Marissa

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait until your reality becomes mine as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing. I use to feel really guilty about how my prayer and Bible study time changed when I became a mom. Now I realize it’s another stage of life that God wants us to embrace. We can still connect with Him deeply, just in different ways. My kids teach me so much. Doing Bible study and prayer with them teaches me as much as it does them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for keeping it real. So many people believe that your prayer life has to be formal and perfect in every way. I don’t know why we believe that we can or are able to meet this level of perfection. God does not expect it from us. We have a living savior that saved us. Keep doing the best you can. That is all God expects from all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So true. I love my little guy Eli prayed tonight for the floor and the ceiling and the doors and the windows and the shelf and the stuffed animals and….:) Ahh babies…they are darling little spicy people are they not?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved this – and I can so relate – even to the pet who won’t leave me alone when I’m on the toilet! My girls’ prayers are sometimes so sweet and sincere that my heart bursts, and sometimes more like “Thank you for the people. Amen” and “Thank you for Elsa and Anna and pirates.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is great! i like how you break every thing down! OUr baby is 14 months old and we pray before each meal. I don’t think he quite gets it, but one day… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great post. As i new mother, i struggle with time as i combine a job, marriage and ministry. I have learnt to take it one day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. wifemummynurse says:

    This was great, and SO true!!! My daughter starts thanking God for her food, as well as everything under the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: