(Inside: A mom’s prayer: untangle your anxious thoughts and find extraordinary joy in your ordinary day. Let God minister and nourish you through prayer.)
My thoughts weigh me down. They mess with my mind, so I just don’t feel right.
The twelve tabs open in my brain bounce between ‘I need to grade a stack of tests,’ I wonder if my dog puked because she’s sick or just ate something,’ ‘what times are practices tonight,’ ‘what’s for dinner,’ and ‘why are four of my brain-tabs frozen.’
My thoughts feel tangled and heavy, and I don’t know why. There are hints of depression and anxiety, but those labels seem too strong. My brain just feels scrambled. It’s frustrating because I’ve lived long enough to know-on-paper that good comes from bad, God is in control and I’m not doing life alone…
But, still – I feel unsettled…
However, I have this strategy that I use to help me sort out my mind-mess. Do you remember that game you played during 5th grade field day?
Around seven people would circle up. Everyone would extend their arms into the middle of the circle and grab a random hand so a knot of humans resulted. As a team, we’d work together to lift arms, walk under, turn, and step over joined hands to unravel the knot. We’d end up in an untangled circle holding our adjacent classmate’s hands.
Related Article: Imperfect Faith is Still Faith
That same process is how I unsnarl my thoughts. I do this through prayer.
Because I can’t pinpoint what exactly is revving up my anxious heart, I don’t worry about what to pray. Instead, I just start praying – here and there – throughout my day…
I pray for my oldest son – for protection, wisdom, and confidence. (In my brain – with my human knot of tightly woven thoughts – two connected hands are lowered and I step over.)
I pray for my middle son – for happiness, friendships, and direction. (I spin under a raised hand I’m holding, slightly shaking loose a corner of the knot.)
I pray for my youngest son – for joy, focus, and positive influences. (I bend under two arms.)
I pray for my husband – for his work, protection, and that I love him well. (I turn clockwise, step over arms, and loosen another tangle.)
I pray for my students, coworkers, and community. (Deep breathe, figure out the next move, and tuck under another set of arms.)
I pray for my parents, in-laws, my grandma, and friends… (Another turn…)
I pray for direction and the next right step… (Another step over…)
I could care less about following any prayer rules or formulas; I simply spend my day talking to God.
Just like in 5th grade when I was slightly in awe of how we could always untangle the human knot, I’m often puzzled by why this prayer process unbinds my mess. But I know that as I say a prayer here, words there, the gentle peace of an ever-present God emerges. I feel him helping me not just know but also believe the words he presses deep within me: I am here with you always and forever.
The peace, the message, the act of continual prayer clears my head.
Not in an I-know-have-all-the answers way, but instead in a God-is-with-me-and-for-me-despite-my-worries way.
It’s one of God’s best tools to nurture us.
God is always near and FOR US. If you don’t believe me, start your day with one tiny prayer…
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Read the whole “power of a praying mother” series
Prayer. I’ve had a tricky relationship with prayer over the years. I’ve bounced between ‘what’s the point?’ and ‘Lord, God, THANK YOU so much for the powerful gift of prayer.’
Here’s what life experience and the study of God’s word have taught me about prayer:
God hears our prayers.
God sometimes answers prayers.
God shapes us and changes our perspective in uplifting ways through prayer.
God nourishes us through prayer.
God speaks to our hearts with quiet “knowings” deep inside of us through prayer.
God builds his relationship with us through prayer.
Prayer is powerful in ways that we fully don’t understand.
Science proves that prayer is a healthy, life-giving practice with both physical and mental benefits.
If you also believe a mom’s prayer, can be powerful, keep reading…
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.