I’ve been re-reading a favorite book. A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. Years ago when I first read it this book resonated with my own reality, giving language to things God had been teaching me. Today my reality has changed, but the Praying Life message is as true as ever – just what I need to hear. I’ve underlined a hundred quotes.
What do I lose when I have a praying life? Control. Independence. What do I gain? A quiet heart. The living work of God in the hearts of those I love… Essentially I lose my kingdom and get his.
And I know it’s true. This season of parenting is proving it. What I desperately seek is control, yet control is wearing me out. And I’ve never felt so powerless. Until I pray. Prayer is my lifeline. It puts control back where it belongs. It recalibrates my perspective. Oh…that’s right… You’ve got this. I trust you.
It happened just like that a couple of Saturdays ago. I was awake early while my family slept. It was one of those mornings when my first thoughts were a mix of apprehension and longing, and I sat in my bedroom chair and talked out loud to God. I talked about my boys. My frustrations and concerns. My hopes and desires. Eventually I got specific, talking to God about my annoyance over video games as a primary pastime for one boy in particular, and I asked if He might capture this boy’s passion with something more constructive. Like, maybe the piano. I said it out loud, just like that, in prayer.
And I’m still shaking my head over this one. Not two hours later my prayed-over boy was sitting at the piano, watching YouTube lessons and working out the songs. He probably spent four or five hours that Saturday absorbed in music. And mind you, he had never done this before, and it wasn’t my suggestion. It was a miracle.
I’d be a fool to miss the lesson. It was that simple. Yes. This is how I want you to parent.
It’s a fine line between parenting and controlling. I’ve never been more aware. I struggle with the balance between letting go and being responsible. Trusting and leading. I want to do more and I want to do less. Both.
Maybe praying is both. More and less. Miller says, “It didn’t take me long to realize that I did my best parenting by prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing.”
And these days, relaxing sounds heavenly.