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PRAYER WARRIOR MOM
Covering your kid with God's blessings and protection
By Marla Alupoaicei
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013Marla Alupoaicei
All rights reserved.
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
—William Arthur Ward
I was free! My husband had agreed to watch the kids for a bit so I could spend a rare couple of hours at my local Christian bookstore. I swung through the Starbucks drive-thru and grabbed a skinny latte on my way over.
As I entered the store, an inscription on a beautiful Spanishstyle painted tile caught my eye:
Being a mother is a holy privilege.
That truth seared my heart like a bolt of lightning. Wow! Being a mother is a holy privilege? Not a daily drudge? Not a joyless responsibility? Not simply what we do after leaving our "real careers" behind?
Yes, motherhood is a holy privilege. God has instituted it, ordained it, and blessed it. In fact, in some ways, the mother-child relationship is our primary earthly relationship, even more central to the core of our being than marriage. (Of course, I had to buy the plaque. I needed that daily reminder of the infinite value that God places on motherhood!)
God has gifted us with a lofty vocation, a glorious calling, and a high honor. I know that the days spent with fussy babies may seem interminably long, but the years are so short. One mom of a toddler made me laugh as she described the often-thankless tasks of motherhood. She wrote:
Having a baby is really hard. I know everyone tells you that. Everyone is right ...
When you work on a team, and you have a boss and projects and deadlines, when you get to the end of something, someone says, "Good job." Or, "Thank you." Or, "Wow, that was smart and helpful." But Henry [my son] never looks up at me when I'm changing his diaper and says, "Good move with the wipes, Mom. Very thorough." He doesn't look up at me when I'm trying to get him to go back to sleep in the night and whisper, "Fabulous technique with the shushing and rocking. You're a genius."
It doesn't matter to Henry one little bit that I can speak French or explicate sentences or cook really good roasted salmon. What matters is that I can be there with him as long as he needs me ... I can play with Froggie, his favorite toy, one more time, one more time, one more time.
Like those endless cycles we spend playing with Henry and Froggie, each time we pray, our spiritual influence on our kids gathers momentum. We grow stronger and more confident. Our faith blossoms as we and our children begin to receive an increased outpouring of God's blessings. Our daily prayers collect with an aggregate effect, culminating in a powerful legacy of intercession. Like a warm blanket, our petitions cover our kids with God's grace and protection.
I'm thrilled that you've picked up this book. I know the Lord will bless your desire to become a Prayer Warrior Mom. I look forward to helping you engage in stronghold-shattering, breakthrough prayer for your kids.
As you begin to practice the principles, memorize the scriptures, and pray the prayers included in this book, you'll see how quickly God's truth will transform your children's hearts. At the back of this book, in the "Recommended Resources" section, I've also provided at least three additional resources on each topic I address in Prayer Warrior Mom. I trust they'll be inspiring and helpful to you in your journey toward becoming a victorious prayer warrior.
Most important, my fervent hope is that you'll discover that God-honoring prayer is not about rules and regulations; it's about developing a life-giving relationship with the Lord of the universe.
The Life-Giving Power of Gratitude
Cultivating a heart of gratitude is central to your role as a Prayer Warrior Mom. As you become more thankful and effective in prayer, God will transform your family life and your marriage from the inside out. You'll be amazed by the difference in your kids' hearts, attitudes, and actions as you learn to "stand in the gap" for them (see Ezekiel 22:30). You will break through to blessing as your prayers on earth engage the limitless power of your Father in heaven.
For me, having a joyful, thankful spirit used to be so easy. God created me as an optimist by nature, with a "glass half-full" perspective on life. (My husband, David, says that he's a "realist." More on that later!)
Then I had kids. Two kids, fourteen months apart, to be exact. And having children somehow broke my half-full glass and spilled out much of my joy. Sleep deprivation combined with the burden of caring for my little ones caused my once-cheerful personality to deflate until I hardly recognized myself anymore.
My son, Evan, entered the world as a preemie, weighing only three pounds. If you've ever had a preemie, you know the significance of the "2-5-8-11-2-5-8-11" schedule. Those were the times when I had to feed and change my baby every day and every night—no exceptions. If I wanted to sleep, exercise, cook, take a walk outside, or carve out some desperately needed "me time," too bad—I had to take care of the baby. On the rare occasions that Evan happened to be blessedly asleep at 2, 5, 8, or 11 o'clock, too bad—I had to wake him up.
Then, when Evan was only five months old, surprise! I discovered I was pregnant again. I should have been thrilled, right? Instead, I could have filled a moon crater with my tears. David and I were still staggering under the responsibilities of caring for our preemie. How could we possibly take care of another baby? But I gave birth to a sweet daughter, Eden, nine months later.
Now I'm amazed that I actually thought life with one baby was difficult! In the years since my kids' births, the physical, spiritual, and emotional strain of caring for two babies while also trying to maintain a godly marriage, a somewhat-clean house, a ministry, and a writing career have felt like a thousand-ton millstone around my neck. (I didn't realize it at first, but I also struggled with postpartum depression.) Maybe you've been there too.
One day, after the birth of my daughter, as I passed the swimming pool, I spied a drowned butterfly floating listlessly on the surface. That's me, I thought, as a profound sense of grief welled up in my soul. That's exactly how I feel. I reached out and scooped up the butterfly's lifeless body, admiring its stained-glass wings as I gently deposited it in the grass.
A vise of despair clamped tightly around my heart. I mourned for a fallen world that robs winged creatures of the joy of flight. And I mourned for the woman I used to be. Before having children, I had felt lighthearted and exuberant, as if soaring on gossamer wings. But afterward, I had lost my spark, my zest for life. I felt leaden and lifeless, impossibly stuck in the mud of terra firma. What's wrong with me, God? I wondered.
It seemed that as soon as I finished one task, my husband and children placed more demands on me, or the kids had created new disasters that needed attention. I never felt I "had it all together." We moms live with this constant tension, and it can lead to simmering feelings of frustration and discontentment.
Slowly, God helped me regain my sense of joy as I relearned how to be grateful and find new ways to express my love for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I had to learn to act on my faith rather than on my feelings. I discovered that gratitude is central to our worship of God, as well as to the development and nurturing of healthy human relationships.
I'm not talking about "Pollyanna praise" here. I'm talking about letting God shape, soften, and mold our hearts until we can accept everything He gives (whether it seems hea
Excerpted from PRAYER WARRIOR MOM by Marla Alupoaicei. Copyright © 2013 by Marla Alupoaicei. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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