How we talk to God is consistently connected with how we talk to others.
When I correct the little girls, I try to instruct them that by learning to listen to mommy’s voice, they are learning to listen to God’s voice. While I teach the children this lesson, the business of the day makes it hard for me to listen to the voice of God and be reminded of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Instead, I forget to spend a few minutes with God or get distracted, and my tone becomes harsh toward everyone around me (I admit to all the uglies here). I lose patience so much sooner, I snap, I raise my voice, and I don’t follow through with the commands given. Many days, my to-do list is so long that I don’t want to fall behind and take time to pray.
Recently, I was reading (you can read my thoughts on the book here) Keep it Shut: What to Say, How to say It, and When to say Nothing at All. Karen Ehman suggests to take our to-do list into our prayer time! I love the simplicity:
“To pray your to-do list, find a few moments to be alone and quiet. Ask God to bring to mind all that you must accomplish that day. Make a list of everything that comes to mind. Then briefly pray through each item on the list. If more tasks come to mind, simply add them to the list. Don’t worry that it is unspiritual to stop halfway through prayer and jot down an item. If you’re like me, it will help you to clear you mind and enable you to focus better on your time alone with God. He is concerned about the details of your life, even the errands.”
Why do we assume we’ll find the time to be with God? Setting an alert in your phone to pray on a time you know is consistently quiet is a new idea I recently came across. I have been known to write it on my to-do list : ) Some moms find the best predictable time to be at the beginning of nap time, while they sit in the pick-up line at school, during meal prep when the children are snacking or watching a little show, or first thing in the morning. It’s been working for me to pray during Samuel’s morning nap. I sit in the schoolroom at the children’s table and they’re very curious as to what’s new on the prayer list.
I also use a short devotional book. This is the one I’ve been enjoying for the last few weeks. Some days I take a minute to copy a portion of one of the Psalms. Writing it down helps me focus. Other wonderful ways to hush our hearts and minds can be listening to worshipful music during clean-up or an audio Bible app during lunch.
Due to the ebbs and flows of family life, our routines usually change every 4-6 months, so it’s important for us to be flexible and embrace the new rhythms. Being intentional about our time with God will make an immense difference in hushing our harsh. I know from experience!
“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.”
– Corie ten Boom
with love. Damaris