“You can pray while you work. Work doesn’t stop prayer, and prayer doesn’t stop work. It requires only that small raising of the mind to him: I love you God, I trust you, I believe in you, I need you now. Small things like that . . . are wonderful prayers.”
― St. Teresa of Calcutta
When I was a little girl, I was taught a catchy little tune in Sunday school, “Call him up, call him up tell him what you need, call him up, call him up tell him what you want!” The message made clear sense in my mind as a child: God wants to hear from me as simply and directly as when my mother picks up the phone to call her closest friend. The connection is direct, authentic, often, and without hesitation. It is often a call to discuss a need or a challenge, but it is ultimately an honest connection and has everything to do with walking through life in relationship together, not about perfect circumstances.
During my college days, my interest in the life-changing power of prayer developed. I remember losing track of time, spending hours in the depths of prayer in the dimly lit church surrounded by lulling music. Although there is great value in having regular, dedicated time and space to pray, in recent days that little song from Sunday School has resurfaced in my mind and heart. I find myself humming the tune right up and down the hallway of my little house surrounded by the constant, vibrant pitch of rollicking boys. Perhaps it’s because these days I find it challenging to arrange time past my own stoop, and the needs of the household press in. I sometimes daydream about past times of solitary prayer, and of the overseas mission trips that came out of the discernment and leading I received from the heart of God in prayer. The truth is that prayer does look different on most days than it did when I had it blocked out on the schedule and labeled “Prayer Team” as my favorite elective.
Yet the surging power of prayer is no less vital and no less available to me today than it was then. Sure, I am busy. But if I am honest, when I am not making a regular, authentic connection to my Abba Father, it is more often that I have overlooked the importance of my call to live my motherhood mission to the fullest! Just as love is something unseen by the naked eye, so is prayer. Without a mind of prayer, I can buy into the idea that it is all up to me (self-sufficiency), or that it is more important to focus on measurable productivity within my household and for my children. In my human nature I tend to want to see success. Culturally, I am even affirmed when I focus my motherly efforts on the accomplishments and productivity of those in my charge. If I am honest, I also hold back areas of my heart in prayer where I am struggling to continue to hope and trust in God. I go silent on my end of the phone and forget to thank God for all that has come to pass. If I hold back then, I can easily forget how God has asked me to boldly call on him for the impossible (Mt 19:26).
As mothers, we have the opportunity to grow in our awareness to “raise our minds to him” throughout the so-called ordinary days of living out this motherhood mission. We need to lay aside self-sufficiency and surrender measurable results. We have the power to exercise our will and cultivate hope by thanking him for all he has done as well as by thanking him for the active work he is doing in the broken places within our hearts. God desires that we boldly call on him in faith and make the call to connect directly, authentically, often, and without hesitation.