By 7pm I feel so exhausted most nights I can’t wait to get the kids to bed so I can go to sleep! Some nights I actually hear myself saying, “You guys need to go to bed so I can!” Did I really say that?
After the battle of getting jammies on, brushing teeth and one last trip to the bathroom for the boys to at least try to go, I get them tucked into their beds. Of course, they both have ‘one more thing’ to tell me. I listen patiently trying with all my exhausted effort to not get annoyed because all I’m thinking is getting me to bed.
Then I hear it. “You didn’t pray.” I think, “Tomorrow, it can wait till tomorrow. I am so tired.” Then I hear Him again, “You didn’t pray” and I have been convicted. We didn’t pray.
Oh how many times do I call out to God asking for His help, guidance and wisdom in raising my boys to be godly men! He is faithful and He is helping me right here and now by gently reminding me we didn’t pray. Not only didn’t we pray, but I didn’t read them a Bible story either. Here I am skipping the most important thing, talking to God because I am too tired! And even worse, I try to reason and put it off until tomorrow.
I am convicted.
What kind of an example am I setting? Not a good one that is for sure! I always tell my boys, “God likes it when we talk to Him and when we thank Him for giving us all we have.” But through my actions, the message I am giving instead is, ‘We only pray to God when we feel like it and only when it’s convenient for us.’
Shame on me.So, I announce with renewed strength, “We didn’t pray! We are going to pray!” Lately, my boys don’t want to say their own prayers (hmm, I wonder why?) so I have been praying a family prayer. I ask them, “Is there anything specific you want to pray?” Sometimes, I get a response to pray for a toy or healing a boo-boo and sometimes I get just a few grunts.
But, on this one night, as I began to pray my three year old said, “I want to pray!” Oh, I was so excited to hear those words! I tell him to go ahead. He prays, but we can’t hear him because he is speaking so quietly and covers his head with his blankets. Then my six year old says, “I want to pray too!” Yippee! I tell him he can pray when his brother is finished. Unsure if the three year old is done because we can’t hear him, my now half a sleep six year asks, “Are you done?” And we get a nod, so I tell the older one you can pray now.
And this was his prayer, “Jesus, please forgive me for kicking my brother in the head today and keep our hearts pure…” To be honest, that’s all I heard. My heart filled with joy and I couldn’t believe my ears. He prayed for forgiveness, which I don't think he has ever done before and with no prompting from me!
Now I think how many times do I ask God for help and then ignore Him when He is so faithfully here to do so always. How many times do I let my own selfish needs inhibit my children‘s spiritual growth?