Last night was a terrible night. My almost-8-month-old daughter, awakened multiple times by some unknown ailment, spent a good portion of the night letting us know in no uncertain terms that she was very unhappy with her circumstances. As I related the night’s events to my mother this morning over Skype, clutching my precious mug of coffee in one hand, baby in the other (looking, I’m sure, the epitome of the bedraggled “new mom”), she asked me, “well, did you pray with her?”
Pray with her? Well, of course I had! At least, sort of. More or less. In truth, what I had done, groggy and grumpy and thinking more about my pillow than prayer, was mumble something along the lines of “God please calm Alice.” And that’s it.
And as I thought about my midnight “prayer” later, after my mom and I had hung up and I was preparing my now happy-to-go-to-sleep baby for her morning nap, I realized that I hadn’t actually prayed for Alice, not really. All I had done was, not giving much thought to Who I was talking to, mumbled some words into the air, and when the crying hadn’t ceased immediately after the last word, gave up. Oh well, I tried.
And I have to say that what I had done seems more like attempting a magic charm than asking for help; I had behaved as though the power would come from the words, not the one to whom the words were theoretically directed.
Now, I know that this is not the way to talk to God. But I started wondering, why didn’t I take the time to really pray, to really ask God to help my daughter?
I do believe in the power of prayer. I have heard amazing stories from people I know and trust about miracles and healings and personal transformations. I have been reading all about God bringing His kingdom here, to earth, now, through the prayers of people like me, and getting excited about it. So why, if I truly believe that God will heal people from cancer, cast demons from the afflicted, and bring revival in my city, why do I act as though he wont grant my crying daughter peace and sleep?
As I reread that last paragraph, I noticed something. God’s kingdom is coming because of the prayers of people like me. Like me…but not…me?
I thought about this a bit.
Do I really believe that God hears the prayers of others better than He hears my prayers? That others’ prayers are better, more eloquent, more skilled, than my own? And that because of this, I am somehow exempt from praying for things – on my own, but especially in a group, out loud, even in front of my almost-8-month-old daughter?
Oh, me of little faith.
God, forgive my lack of faith and believing that You want to hear from some of Your children more than others. Help me lead by example in praying with faith for my child.