Lunches packed for the last time. Desks cleared, backpacks cleaned out and stowed away. Field day over. Class parties celebrated. Awards ceremony concluded and certificates photographed. End-of-the-year pictures taken of each daughter and compared to the photos from the first day of the school year.
And now we collapse. We did it. Somehow it feels like a joint accomplishment, not just theirs. Sure, my kids worked hard. So did I. And somehow, by God’s grace, we made it here to this first day of summer vacation.
It’s only taken 15 months of prayer. I started praying for this school year last March, praying for this teacher, this classroom, these friends, this school, these character issues, and these lessons.
On Monday, a friend and I bowed heads for the last time this school year and we gave thanks.
Thank You, Lord, for answering our pleas for our children. Thank You for helping them learn, being with them in all of the struggles that have sent these loving (and worried) mamas to their knees. Thank You for helping them with difficult concepts and friendship drama, bullies and mistakes on tests, report cards and forgetfulness. Thank You for these teachers You chose specially for our kids.
And we began again, just that quickly, one sentence to another, thank God for this year and then praying for next year: for classroom placements and teacher assignments, for the responsibilities of a new grade and for the friendships they’d make.
So it continues.
“Pray without ceasing….” that’s what Paul wrote (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
He meant that living prayer, that breathing in and breathing out of living life alongside God, taking in crises and handing them right on over to the Lord, receiving blessing and offering up spontaneous praise.
It means no more arbitrary separations between the sacred and the secular, between the holy parts of my life where God is welcome and invited and the dusty living rooms of our hearts where we try to hide away the clutter in corners.
Having kids, though, reminds me of this, too:
Prayer is perpetual; it’s insistent and consistent.
And sometimes I’m not. I’m driven to the throne by need and I’m pouring out pleas of desperation until the need eases a bit. Or perhaps I just grow weary or fall back into the coziness of complacency and apathy.
I’m not praying so fervently any more. It’s more like unemotional have-to prayers, perhaps performed out of duty, perhaps totally forgotten and not prayed at all.
We pray for that intervention, that salvation, that redemption, that rescue…for us or for another….and then slowly we cease the praying. We need the reminder to keep on keeping on, to not give up asking God for that healing and to refuse to stop praying for a loved one’s salvation.
With kids, you can’t really forget, not for long. Time just pushes you right through from prayer need to prayer need. I’m not even done praying over one school year before I’m on my knees for the next.
I read the Psalms and here is the reminder anew:
“But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation” (Psalm 69:13 NLT).
“But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more” (Psalm 71:14 NLT).
“We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal” (Psalm 123:2 NLT).
Keep praying….keep hoping….keep looking.
Keep at it and when He answers, press on in more prayer.
With this fresh resolve, I flip through the pages of the neglected prayer journal. What did I pray then….and what do I still need to pray now?
What have you neglected in prayer? What have you given up on and long since stopped asking God for? Who used to be on your prayer list but somehow slipped off?
It’s discipline to begin again. And when we cease praying, which feels like the inevitable failing of us forgetful ones, we return again and resolve again to be insistent and consistent in seeking God and hoping in His deliverance.
What have you stopped praying about that you need to pray for again? What prayers are you already praying for your children’s next school year?
Do you have a prayer journal? How does it look and how do you use it?
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King