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  • Valerie Bryant

Mama – Are You Praying with your Eyes Open?

Do either of these prayers sound familiar?

“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . . Amen!”

“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen!”

If not, you might remember one you either heard or recited from your childhood. These were short and easy orations we were first taught as we learned to converse with God. I remember being on my knees, hands folded, head bowed, and eyes closed. It was a reverent posture appropriate for my young and wandering mind. Much like when we learned to crawl and then to walk, we were expected to mature to more effective methods of communicating with our Father. Now, as adults, we know we can pray with eyes open, lifting them up heavenward. It’s less the physical posture and more the heart attitude.

Still, sometimes we need a little help as life distracts and paralyzes us from being more effective when we talk to God. The Word share how He desires for us to converse with Him, as much as we desire for our children to do the same with us.

Today, I will share 3 strategies on prayer that might help yours to increase in effectiveness.

First: We must pray with our eyes opened to God’s Word.

If we find ourselves only calling on God in the moment that something has gone awry, then we are missing the boat on effective prayer. Realize that, to ask something of someone, best results happen when you already enjoy a fresh relationship with them; otherwise, you don’t even know how to ask. Read or listen to Daniel 9:1-4 (his prayer) as one example to follow when we need to petition God. You’ll see that the first thing he did was to consult God’s Word - seeking the mind and heart of God. God’s will is often demonstrated in how He has answered others’ prayers – namely, people in the Old and New Testament. We can use those experiences as reference points as we take our matter to God.

How powerful a demonstration this is as we also live it before our children. If they are small, they are empowered to see you put it in action. If they are older or out of the house, you can still articulate your methods as you recount or live through situations. It reminds them of this practice and can become a part of the hope that’s within them.

Here's a precaution: Be careful not to pounce on isolated Bible accounts, taking them out of context and declaring them to be a redefinition of truth. Realize that many stories recount wrongdoing at the hands of the very people God had intended to rightly minister His precepts. Just because something is recounted in the Bible does not mean that it is to be adopted as gospel. Often, such could have been intended as historical data.

Second: We must pray with our eyes opened to what is happening around us.

We are sisters of Queen Esther, yet we were born for such a time as these. It’s imperative that we listen and watch, but not with blind reliance on social media sources. Unlike Queen Esther, be vigilant and aware of life beyond your household because it can one day impact you and yours. Recalling the story of Esther, she was living comfortably in the palace of pamper. She had no clue nor concern for her Jewish community she had left behind. Were it not for her “woke” cousin, Mordecai, who pursued and informed her of her husband’s death edict upon the Jews, they would surely have been decimated.

Before we wave a scolding finger at the queen, we must first reckon with how we might be living similarly. Most of us live in relative comfort with no question for food and safe shelter. Even if we live with food insecurity in our home, we are often blessed with a community food bank like the Soldiers’ Angels group I relied on a few years ago as a veteran in need. I was thankful that someone somewhere had already prayed over such a need. Their prayer had been answered and it helped me feed my family as a result. They had prepared that one way, as we can do today – one need, one way at a time. We need only keep our eyes open to the pain and suffering of those around us.

Still, it's sad when avoidable tragedy must sometimes strike before our conscience is awakened to first pray and then act.

Third: We must pray with our eyes opened to the reality of the spirit world encircling us.

Remember that we war against spirit, not flesh.

As I raised my children, I loathed anything of the dark spirit world. The house rule was that they were not allowed to watch or read anything mystical. If I had the chance to raise them again, I would be more open to visiting the topic with my older children. At least then, they could have a stronger awareness of the spirit world encircling us. The emphasis, however, would have been on the overarching power of God’s miracle magic. Acknowledging how dark demon spirits exist helps us gain perspective on how critical it is for us to pray. Satan does still roam about seeing who is weak in prayer among us, so he can “take us out” with his dark magic.

When we pray, we are giving God permission to intervene in our earthly situation, but in a truly magical supernatural spiritual way. The result is that his messenger angels come to our aid in the spirit realm, and they fight for us. If we get to a place where we feel God is not answering, we need to read Daniel’s account (Daniel 9:20) of how his prayer had indeed been answered in the moment he had prayed it. However, the angel messenger bearing his answer couldn’t advance past certain demonic forces. As Daniel prayed, God sent two arch angels to defeat those spirits. His messenger angel was able to pass through and deliver relief Daniel sought. This tells us that we need not get emotionally twisted up when a ready answer is not apparent. We often need to be praying for God to intervene and to aid any angels possibly being hindered. And then we need to thank Him. If we take that approach of belief instead of wearing out Matthew 7:7 (ask-seek-knock for the same matter over and again), we rightly assist in warring in the spiritual realm.

Are you effectively praying with your eyes open, Sister Mama?

We were born for such a time as this and must be uncommon in our prayer life to be effective. When we understand more about how to relate to God, we can expect to see God’s magic overwhelm dark forces that try to ensnare us. We might simply need to abandon concepts of childhood praying. Our world and society desperately need us to turn it up, Mamas. Let’s keep our eyes open as we pray and really make a difference for our today and for our children’s tomorrow.

#motherhood, #prayer, #parenting,

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