I have been reading a lot about the Ministry of Motherhood, about the Ministry of the Home and the Hearth; about seeking God where you (or I) are at this point in life and time. You may remember that the profession or ministry of being a mom and a wife is one of my main themes in this blog and I hope in my life. I seek more of God, but I certainly don’t have hours to read the Bible or to spend on my knees (unless I am cleaning).
1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to “Pray without ceasing”.
This post is by no means a deep discussion of a Bible verse. But this verse contains an interesting concept, and actually a direct commandment. I understand many people struggle with this verse; a direct instruction that seems, on the surface, to be impossible. Many people eventually dismissing the commandment, as a grand ideal that can not be achieved (forgetting that even if a grand ideal of faith can not be achieved in perfection on earth, we are called to run the good race and strive) or as applicable only to special situations and thus not to them. We all know we will not achieve perfection until we meet our God face to face, so the inability to reach perfection now is a poor excuse for not striving to do our best; and the instruction is not directed only to a certain or special population so we must assume it is for all of us.
Consider 2 Timothy 4:7 : I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith
Never are we commanded to win the fight or the race, only to fight it and to finish it.
So presented with a seemingly impossible command (to pray with out stopping), and understanding we are not expected to achieve perfection only to continually seek it and strive for it; we need to seek out first what the direction can really be saying to us on a practical level and secondly how we can seek to follow the grand ideal in the real world we live in.
I want to ask you to think about, I challenge you to think about, one basics question. This question is the seed that started this blog post to begin with: why does pray have to be a separate time of our life.
Yes, I acknowledge that it is important to set aside time to be alone with our Lord. But I am the mother of two small children, alone time? What is that? I have a child on my lap eating cereal as I type this. If I was to slot my pray time into only time when I can come before the Lord in peace and quiet, it simply would not happen; or at least it would not happen “without ceasing”.
Too many mother’s of young children fall into guilt when the reality of this season of our lives is that we do not have the quiet pray time we used to have. I encourage all mother’s to think of this: God know our lives, He knows of the toys and the dinner dishes, the gardens to be weeded and the floor that has to be moped again today barely 14 hours after it was last mopped. God gave you the child or children you are parenting, God gave that child(ren) their personality(ies). If you are running from 5 am till 11 pm and then up in the middle of the night too, as I am, to mother and still manage a house God see that, God knows that, God created that situation for you. Furthermore you are right where God wants you. I additionally I am not the first to suggest He created that situation, created this season in your life, for a specific purpose.
I have two thoughts about pray and about praying without ceasing, that I want to offer to you for thought, and consideration. They are somewhat connected. They are thoughts that I am currently trying to incorporate into my life, in to my walk of faith.
1. everything I (or you) do during the day can be, should be, done with an attitude of pray. An attitude of service. Suddenly you are not just mopping the floor AGAIN, you are serving your family and serving God who gave you this family (this specific family that spills something sticky daily) to tend.
2. If we consciously start our day by offering the day and our activities up to God then #1 becomes that much easier.
Allow your daily efforts, to be an offering of pray to God. Think, actually think about it “Lord I am blessed to have dishes to wash, meals to feed my family. Thank you. Help me be a good steward of our blessing and help me show my love for my family by providing them a clean home”. Because of this, I hope you and I will have an even greater desire put forth an effort worthy of being offered up to God, an effort worth of being in service to Him. When presented as an offering to God as an act of service not only to the family but to Him who gave that family, how could ANY task remain unimportant.
I read this quote recently: Pope John Paul II observed that the Morning Offering [the Catholic pray offering a believers day to God] is “of fundamental importance in the life of each and every one of the faithful.”
Wow – how different could my day be if I started off offering it up to God, the good, the bad and the boring? How different, more vivid, could my faith walk be if I continually try to think of God in my daily activities (pray without ceasing)?
My hope and pray is that as I become more and more practiced at this “attitude of pray” I will be blessed by becoming more aware of Our Lord’s presence in every aspect of my life and daily activities.