For years, I told people that I believed in the power of prayer. I affirmed with my mouth that “prayer changes things.” I knew in my mind and heart it was true.
At a Ladies’ Retreat a few years ago, Nancy talked about prayer and quizzed us on Scriptures pertaining to prayer. There are at least 650 references to prayer in the Bible—probably more. I’m familiar with them, but do I believe them? Do I live like I believe that prayer is as powerful as the Bible says?
That weekend, I was challenged to pray for my children. If I don’t pray for my children, who will? I cannot rely on grandparents or a prayer-warrior-friend to cover my children with prayer. It is my duty and should be my delight. I must be vigilant for we live in the midst of a daily spiritual battle. I must purposefully pray for my children.
I had to look at my prayer life and found it sorely lacking. My heart was heavy. I was failing to pray for my own children! Day-to-day, I was very conscientious to prepare them nourishing foods, to educate them, and to fill their brains with a Biblical worldview. All these things are good, but I’d neglected to pray for my children. I’d left them uncovered.
When I did remember to hunker down and pray in the hustle and bustle of life in a big family, I usually petered out. Starting at the top of the age list, I could never get through them all—interrupted by my own distractions or the needs of the very ones I was trying to pray for.
The next time, I would start with the youngest and work my way up. Again, I was pulled away and some always got left out! The squeakiest wheel got the most prayer and the quietest one (who happened to be in the middle) was forgotten. This was unacceptable! I was abnegating the most basic of parental duties. I was surrendering my most powerful weapon to protect my family. Abandoning my post. This was not my heart. I needed a plan!
As Nancy shared that weekend about the high priest of Israel and his garments which held the names of the tribes of Israel, an idea began to take shape. On the ephod and the breastplate of the priestly garments were the names of the tribes of Israel. Exodus 28:29 (ESV) says: “So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgement on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular rememberance before the Lord.” I realized that I could no longer leave out any of “my tribe.” I needed to carry them with me as I carried out my motherhood role, to cover them, and bring their names before the Lord.
I am not much of a jewelry girl. I find it most inconvenient as I don’t know how to match it to my clothing, it makes a noise, or gets in the way when I try to be productive. I knew I couldn’t manage a breastplate or an ephod! But I needed a physical reminder.
Now, I wear a bracelet for each of my children. Each one is a simple elastic string of beads that matches just about everything. Honestly, I don’t care if it doesn’t match, because these bracelets are more important than fashion!
I put beads, which spell out my children’s names, on each bracelet. Every morning, I put the bracelets on my left wrist. As I pray for them, I move the bracelets to my right wrist. Now, when I am interrupted, I don’t lose my place! If I pray for them as the Lord leads, I don’t lose my place. No longer must it be done in order! If I finish praying for some, I slip those bracelets onto the counter—ready for the next day.
While driving errands, my wrist is right before me at the steering wheel—a reminder. I turn off the radio and pray instead. If I think, as I cook or wash dishes, “these bracelets are getting in the way,” I remind myself that my true work for the day is not completed. I am called to pray. When folding laundry, instead of letting my mind wander, I check my wrist and get down to the real business of my home.
My children know about my bracelets. It is the sweetest thing when my seven-year-old comes up to me, lovingly caressing my arm and checking each bracelet to look for her name. “Mommy, you haven’t prayed for me yet?” or, with excitement, “Mommy! You prayed for me already!”
I find that when I pray for each child, the Lord brings to my heart all the needs surrounding each particular child. My prayer life is becoming quite unbounded. I now pray for my children’s friends, their workplaces, their future spouses, and the ministries to which God has called them. Though I still need to make a bracelet for him, I pray for my husband daily as well.
I was once unable to find the time to pray for my husband and the nine precious children God has given me. Then I discovered I had the time all along. I was merely distracted. My walk with God is stronger, as I talk with Him all day long concerning the most exciting and the dullest things.
I ask you what I asked myself: “Do you really believe in the power of prayer? If so, are you living what you believe?” I’d be so happy for you to try my plan.
Salem, Oregon, USA
Printed in Above Rubies # 93.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR BRACELETS
What you need:
Clear stretchy cord, beading needle, seed beads, E6000 glue (to secure the knot so it doesn’t come undone). These supplies can be found at a craft store.
Alphabet beads from Oriental Trading company or Amazon (Amazon has an extra vowel set) which might be necessary, depending on how many you make). My beads started off silver, but after a year of wearing them, the silver has rubbed off and they are now white.