What I Remembered When I Forgot to Pray
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I haven’t been praying very much lately. It doesn’t make sense, really. Since having the newest and greatest responsibility of my life—my 8-week-old son—you’d think I’d be in constant prayer. But I haven’t...
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I haven’t been praying very much lately.
It doesn’t make sense, really. Since having the newest and greatest responsibility of my life—my 8-week-old son—you’d think I’d be in constant prayer. But I haven’t been.
Of course, I’m exhausted. And I have no resemblance of a schedule or routine. What little energy I have at the end of the day goes toward washing my face before crashing into bed. Time now disappears into the black hole of motherhood.
Praying, to be honest, hasn’t even crossed my mind most nights.
But the other night it did. As I lay in bed trying to find the words to say, I felt shame creep up my spine. Praying used to be a constant conversation between me and God—as natural and effortless as breathing.
Now, during the most significant time of my life, I let my most important relationship fall by the wayside. It’s not just that I feel like I should pray. I want to. Like having a clean house and fitting into non-maternity jeans, add prayer to the long list of things I want to do but haven’t found the time to focus on.
As I lay there feeling ashamed, my thoughts slipped away from my usual effortless prayers and onto how I needed to do more, how I needed to be better.
I imagined the disappointment God must feel. Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you’ve started to pray and before you even have the words, you’re already embarrassed at how long it’s been? That was me.
I understand intellectually that God loves me no matter what, but I’m the achiever type, so it’s a constant battle to remember and embrace that truth. I’m always trying to earn God’s approval. Like all of the relationships in my life, I am constantly striving to do things to make Him proud—to secure his love for me a little bit more.
Because what other relationship in our lives can we completely ignore and it’s still there waiting on us when we come back? If I made plans to meet a friend for coffee over and over again and I never showed up, eventually she’d stop showing up too!
That’s often what I expect of God. When I stop showing up, I expect He eventually will too.
But in that moment, as I was going through my “I’m going to do better” checklist, I felt God say, “My love is like the ocean—vast and wide and deep. And whether or not you choose to swim in it doesn’t change the fact that it’s there.”
Just because I wasn’t there doesn’t mean God wasn’t.
While I was washing bottles and changing diapers and blinking through the haze of 3 a.m. screams, God was there. Despite my natural response to assume he was displeased with my lack of discipline, God reminded me that His love for me was as strong as when I’m leading my small group or praying daily. His love is unchanging. And like the ocean, it’s always there.
Even as I type this, I know the truth. But when I forget to pray week after long, hard week (or any normal day in between), I need this reminder.
Maybe you do too. Regardless of how long it’s been since you visited the ocean, since you prayed or went to church or tithed or did any good (or bad) thing, know that the ocean of God’s love is still, and always will be, there for you.
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Robert Robinson, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”