As anyone who is a parent knows, it can be incredibly frustrating at times when you watch your child make the same mistakes over and over and over. You can give them help and guidance each time, but it seems to never make any difference the next. You all know what I'm talking about, right?
The funny thing is that I find myself doing the same thing with God all the time. Only I'm the kid that just doesn't get it. So what lesson have I had a hard time learning? Prayer.
I wanted to share a couple examples where Jamie and I prayed and what the response was. The first situation happened more than a month ago when Norah was having a bad night. It was one of the epic meltdowns that happen from time to time. Around 30 mins into the tirade, both Jamie and I were worn out. At that point, I left Norah in her room and I went up to join Jamie in our bedroom. I looked at her and just said, "We need to pray. For her, for us, for this whole situation." We prayed for about 10 mins asking that God would intervene and meet us as parents and Norah as well. Within seconds of when we said "Amen" Norah walked into our room. She was completely calm and began asking us questions in an appropriate tone. She was still sad, but her demeanor was completely changed.
A second similar situation happened about two weeks after the one I just described. Again, Norah was having a bad day and got completely out of control. Again, Jamie and I prayed. We prayed for God to release the anger in Norah's heart. We prayed for our patience. We prayed that God would help us figure out a way to get through to Norah. Again, within a minute or two of us finishing our prayer I went downstairs. I went into her room and she again was calm and was cleaning up all of her toys and her bed.
I by know means what to give off the impression that God is like a big vending machine and that as soon as you put in your prayers he fixes/answers your prayers. I'm well aware that sometimes our will does not align with God's and therefore our prayers are not answered. But my takeaway is that prayer absolutely works! The way I see it is that Norah would have eventually calmed down in both situations. If we had not prayed then life would have gone on as normal. But we did pray, and we saw immediate behavioral change. The difference is that now Jamie and I turn and give God praise for his love and mercy.
It certainly has been a wake up call for me. I so easily get choked out with "life" that I never take time to pray. I rarely stop what I'm doing so I can take a few minutes to pray for my family, or to praise God for the gifts he has bestowed, or anything else for that matter. I can say that over the past week I have made a much more concerted effort to pray and it has been one of the most fulfilling weeks, spiritually, that I have had in a long, long time.