Broken on the Back Row: A Journey Through Grace and Forgivenessby Sandi Patty
With this unique tried-and-proven prayer system, even the busiest moms can have a rich prayer
The heart of a mom is wrapped up in the people she loves -- her children, her husband, her co-workers, her friends. She wants to give them the very best of herself, but sometimes her busy schedule gets in the way of the most precious gift she can give them -- her prayers.
With this unique tried-and-proven prayer system, even the busiest moms can have a rich prayer life that impacts the people she loves the most. Author Lisa Whelchel offers seven categories of prayer that can be used as they are or modified to fit each mom's special needs. By investing just ten minutes a day, in one month, a mom can bring nearly one hundred and fifty matters before her heavenly Father. From requests for her childrens' protection to wisdom in her personal life to praise for God's constant faithfulness, this simple plan brings order and purpose to prayer.
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Read an Excerpt
The Busy Mom's Guide to Prayer
My heart's desire is to be a woman of prayer, but more often than not, I feel like a failure as a pray-er. As a busy mom, it is sometimes all I can do to cry out to the Lord at sunrise with a quick, "Help me!' before the son rises inside the house and my girls start crying out to me with the same plea.
If I miss my quiet-time window of opportunity in the morning, the shattering of that pane is immediately felt as I realize that there is very little chance for peace and quiet until after everyone is in bed. (That is, of course, after the second drink of water and the third good-night kiss.) By that time I'm typically so exhausted I can barely whisper, "I'm sorry, Lord. I promise to do better tomorrow."
With sincere resolve I begin the next day on my knees covering my family in prayer only to find my wandering mind suddenly thinking thoughts like, "Oh no, we only have crusts left to make sandwiches for lunch." "Did they cancel baseball practice today?" "I can't forget to write a note for this afternoon's orthodontist appointment." "Oh, I'm sorry, Lord, now where were we?"
My prayers are broken into yet again, but this time by an audible voice, "Mom, I can't find my science homework. Where did you put it?" Where did I put it? It is your responsibility to keep up with your own...And we're off! Another race against the clock with only seconds to spare for a few "popcorn prayers" shot up to the Lord throughout one more busy day in the life of a mom.
A Busy Mother - An Understanding Father
I truly believe that God understands this unique season in a mother's life. Thankfully, our heavenly Father looks on the hearts of mothers with compassion and understanding. He is not peering down, shaking His head with a "Tsk, tsk, I guess I'm going to have to give her a miserable day because she didn't get the requisite amount of prayer time logged."
Remembering the merciful character of God has comforted me on many occasions when the enemy has attempted to hammer me with feelings of guilt because I wasn't the prayer warrior I wanted to be. In my estimation I was a "General" in the Lord's army. Not because I had earned the highest ranking for a soldier but because it seemed it was all I could do to find enough time for even general prayers. "Lord, bless my husband today. Help my children in school. Please provide the money we need to pay all of our bills. And help me to be the wife and mother You want me to be. In Jesus's name, amen."
God hears those prayers, and He answers them! But I desperately wanted more. I longed for the time to pray for details like my husband's personal walk with the Lord and his relationships with his coworkers. I wanted to saturate my children in prayer for their future and matters of the heart. I felt guilty for not praying for my pastor and the president. And when I told friends, "I'll pray for you," I really did mean to do just that.
I always had the best of intentions to pray for all these things. But you've probably heard the ugly adage, "The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions." I decided I didn't like that saying (even if it did contain a nugget of truth), so I created my own personal prayer binder and titled it The Pathway to Heaven Is Prayed with Good Intentions.
Wrapping My World
On individual slips of paper, I wrote down everything and everyone I would ever want to pray for. I came up with around three hundred different prayer concerns, and I organized them into ten categories. By praying for one thing from each category every day, I was able to cover all three hundred prayer needs in one month! I felt like a bona fide prayer warrior.
It felt so good to know that once a month I would cover health for my husband, purity for my children, diet struggles for me, prayers for my friends, relatives, and even Jerusalem. All I needed was ten minutes a day, and I could pray for the world, and more specifically, my world. There were even some days when I got carried away and realized I had been praying for thirty minutes without looking at my watch or refereeing a sibling argument.
This prayer system transformed my own life so much that I couldn't wait to share it with my online friends through my Web site. Over the next few days and months, I received tons of excited emails from moms everywhere who were using this method. They shared the joy and peace they experienced, knowing their lives, though busy, were wrapped in prayer.
The Busy Mom's Guide to Prayer is the result of my desire to create a product moms could pick up and immediately jump right into enjoying a fulfilling (full and filling!) life of prayer. All you need is a few minutes a day, five days a week and voila - out with the guilt and in with the power! This book has been adapted from my homemade version to make it versatile enough to fit your prayer needs.
You will notice that the book has twenty days of prayer. You can use these twenty days anytime that works best for you, but the idea is that there are prayer guidelines for five days a week for a month. Then when the first month is over, you can do what I do with my prayer guide and start over again. The prayers outlined in this book need to be lifted up over and over again.
Each day has six prayer categories. Each category begins with a Scripture Inspiration and a section for Praying the Word. I have discovered that it is much easier for me to pray with faith when I can ground my requests in the promises of God. There is an immeasurable dimension of anointing that comes along with lining our words up with the Word of God.
The Prayer Prompt can be interpreted two ways. If you can only steal a few minutes to pray while waiting in the carpool lane at school, then promptly repeat the suggested prayers and rest easy knowing your concerns are covered. If, on the other hand, you would like to linger on a particular petition then simply use the proposed prayer as a springboard, or prompt, to dive into deeper conversation with the Lord.
I have chosen six of the most mom-requested categories. They are Praise, Self, Husband, Children, Personal Influences, and Reaching Beyond. Beginning on day 1, I have broken each of these down even further into twenty prayer focuses - one focus per day.
For instance, on the very first day, in the Praise category, you will begin praising the Lord for His holiness. Then, in the Self category, you will pray for wisdom; godly priorities in the Husband category; future spouse in the Children category; the personal needs of your pastor in the Personal Influences category; and finally, you'll conclude by lifting up the president of the United States in the Reaching Beyond category.
Indulge me for a couple of pages while I share my passion in choosing each of these six categories. I love to begin with Praise because it helps to put my prayer requests in perspective. As I exalt the multifaceted, brilliant radiance of the character of God, my concerns become both significant and trivial at the same time. The God of the universe cares enough to ask me to bring my biggest concerns before Him so they can shrink in His presence.
Most moms put everybody else's needs before their own, and yet when it comes to prayer, it is critical that we put our Self first. Giving is part of the very makeup of a mother (the foundation, perhaps), but we must remember that we cannot give that which we haven't received. This isn't selfish; it is reality. Our relationship with God affects every other relationship in our lives. This is our chance to go deeper with the Lord than ever before, to know Him intimately. Get brutally honest, take any masks off, and let's ask the Chief Physician to perform an extreme makeover so we can look more like Jesus.
First Peter 3:1 says, "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word may be won by the conduct of their wives" (NKJV). I really have a hard time with that scripture, not the part about submission, the without a word phrase. I have so much to say to (and about) my husband if he would only listen to me. Thankfully, God does listen - not to what I say, but to what I pray for my Husband. What a gift we can give the men we love when we trust God to impress upon their hearts from the inside-out, rather than trying to change them by applying pressure from the outside-in.
Is there any prayer more readily on our lips than those for our Children? I think controlling mothers sometimes get a bad rap. After all, it is only because we care so much. When our kids are little we worry about protecting them from others. Once they hit the teenage years, we worry about protecting them from themselves. Either way, we quickly discover that we can't control everything that happens to our children. But that doesn't mean we can't give it our best shot through prayer. Praying for our children is a constant balancing act between handing them over to the Lord and seizing the best for them in the Spirit. I think we are up to the task, don't you, Mom?
You may be surprised at how many Personal Influences touch you on any given day. Think about the people who impact your life: teachers, pastors, coworkers. Now think of the lives you have the power to influence: neighbors, friends, unsaved acquaintances. We have the opportunity to not only reach out to those around us with the love of Jesus but to also leave an eternal impression on them by inviting God's touch on their lives through prayer.
Talking with God really gets fun when we begin Reaching Beyond our immediate sphere of influence to include the whole globe. Can you imagine being given the power within your own praying hands to change the world? Tends to make that extra five minutes of sleep a little less essential, doesn't it? What was God thinking when He gave us that much power? Maybe it was, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV).
Filling in the Blanks
I have chosen the first six categories for you, but remember, this journal is your personal journey. (Would that make it a journey-al?)
We've left lots of blank lines for your own prayers. Use this space however you feel led. You may want to expand and expound on the pre-existing categories or add new categories of your own. Perhaps you want to leave them open to add random prayer requests that come up along the way. Many of you will have particular prayer needs that you can fill in that are especially close to your heart.
In my own personal prayer journal, I have added prayer focuses for co-laborers, specific aspects of my ministry, and an entire category just to pray for each of my extended family members. I love my friend Philis's idea of interviewing her relatives. When she put together her prayer journal, she called her mother, father, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and in-laws and asked them how she could specifically pray for each one of them.
No matter how somebody feels about God, it is a rare person who will pass up the offer to be prayed for. Take advantage of this open door to their hearts and bring their needs and desires to your heavenly Father on their behalf. Perhaps when He opens those doors and answers their prayers, they will invite Him in.
Meet the Author
Sandi Patty is the most awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music history with thirty-nine Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, and four Billboard Music Awards. Her twenty-four albums have sold more than eleven million units including three platinum and five gold recordings. In 2004 Sandi was inducted into the GMA Hall of Fame and in 2005 she penned her autobiography Broken on the Back Row. She has regularly appeared on network TV including The Tonight Show, Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, CNN, and Entertainment Tonight.
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