In my mid-thirties, being a wife, a mother and with a whole new series of personal challenges, I feel like a child who doesn’t even know what to say to God. Has it happened to you?
Praying has never been easy for me. When I was a child, at the end of each religious meeting, my parents used to kneel for a few more minutes, in which I asked myself: how much do they do? Eventually someone explained to me that closing my eyes and saying: “Lord, I don’t know how to pray” was already a way of praying.
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One fine day I knelt in front of the altar and said it. Afterward, I explained to God why I hadn’t done the Geography homework; I asked for my parents and, especially, for that boy I liked. Before I knew it, I had already achieved a solid two minutes of prayer. Gradually, not without the help of invaluable people, I began to understand this important meaning of the word religion, in its etymology: re-ligare, the relationship with God. I believe that little by little, I became intimate with Him as I learned to pray.
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The thing is that today, in my thirties, being a married woman, mother of two children and with a whole new series of personal challenges, I feel like when I was a child: «Lord, I don’t even know what to tell you; Lord, I don’t know how to pray. I do a little prayer while washing dishes, before going into the doctor’s office and sometimes before checking a diaper. But I can’t go sit in church for a long time and talk to him — long and hard — about everything that happens to me.
On many occasions I have imagined God upset with me for not getting close enough. A few days ago I read a phrase more or less like this on the internet: «By praying I don’t gain anything, but I lose a lot! I lose fear and anguish, I lose loneliness and sadness, I lose my anger ». As I reflected on this phrase, my mental image took an unexpected turn: I no longer saw God bothered by my lack of concentration in prayer. Now I saw him expectantly, waiting for me with infinite patience until I discovered that praying is not only something that will make Him happy —as if I were doing Him a favor— but that by praying I am the one who wins the most. I imagine him saying to myself, “Are you feeling sad, tired? Pray, woman, pray! There is the answer.
If like me you have felt lost in prayer, read these ideas that can help you:
1. Multiple forms of communication with God
There are countless ways to reach God, and you can find the one that is most accessible to you: vocal prayers when you don’t know what to say, reading the Bible, spiritual books, admiring nature, even listening to religious, traditional or modern music.
2. Look for spaces of silence
I know that it is difficult to find moments of silence in the face of the thousand family and professional demands. But if you pay a little attention, you will see that the spaces are there: the silence while you help a baby to fall asleep, those journeys that you make every day in solitude, even while cooking or doing tasks that require less concentration. Don’t be afraid to be creative, God is not a demanding interlocutor; remember that it is waiting for us at all times.
3. Don’t leave it to the last!
Don’t leave your prayer until late at night, when you are too tired to change your clothes and you fall exhausted on the couch. Assign a specific time of day to pray, a time when you know you can focus. Plan it, but if the child decides to wake up from his nap 15 minutes earlier, do not worry: remember that we are called to be saints in our circumstances, in our ordinary life.
4. Keep a record
Faced with the distractions that seem to attack my mind as soon as I propose to pray, one of the tools that has been most helpful is keeping a notebook where I write everything. You can always take it with you to write down all the aspects that you would like to ask God in prayer, as well as the inspirations you receive. Let the notebook be just for that, for God and you.
5. Take advantage of technological advantages
Mailing lists with daily Bible readings, meditations, podcasts, even religious memes help us keep God in mind. Use Facebook groups, WhatsApp, blogs, everything you find and that represents a help for you.
6. Reach out to others
Surely more than one of your friends is looking for a way to get closer to God; Dare to share your concern, help each other. Get together with like-minded couples, get your kids involved.
7. Incorporate small moments of prayer into your day
Offer your day to God when you get up; bless and give thanks for the food received; say a little prayer for that friend who goes through a difficult situation. A simple “Thank you, Lord, for such a good day” is already a significant act of adoration and gratitude.
Remember the importance of your work as a parent; You can also read: Your children, where eternity hides in the details.
Praying is entering heaven for a moment because we are in the presence of God, nothing matters in the world, in history, while we are in a personal audience with the King of the Universe. A King who grows small and listens to me when I can no longer do housework, with the character of my little dictator and with my own weaknesses. What that mom misses when he doesn’t pray!