Prayer and Parenthood by Claire Starr

At different times in life we have different patterns of prayer. Having children is perhaps a time of God calling us and introducing us to new ways of praying.

I think that it helps to know God is also your child’s parent, so the whole burden of parenting is not just on your shoulders, or the shoulders of you and your partner.

I can’t believe that God, who wants to be in relationship with us, would give us children and let that mean we are unable to be in relationship with God.

It is hard to imagine because it is so far off at the moment, but let’s say that your child has grown up and now has a baby.  Would you say to your child, ‘Well, now you have a baby I don’t want to see you unless we are alone together?’. That would be very unlikely, I think!

So, how much more would God want you to come and bring your child along to be included in that relationship and spend time with God? You get the support and encouragement you need. After all, God has had millions, if not billions of children! But also your child and God will be given time to develop a good relationship too, just as you would do something together with your child and your friends and their children. Everyone enjoys being together in a place that is fun and relaxing.

Jesus said, ‘Bring the children to me, do not stop them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these’.

So, don’t worry that you ought to have a quiet time all alone. Ask God for opportunities for these and take them as a gift when they present themselves.  If you have five minutes when your child falls asleep in your arms, don’t think, ‘Oh no, I ought to be doing the pile of ironing that is threatening to engulf the room’. FIve minutes won’t impact much on that, but five minutes with God might make a huge impact on how you see yourself, your child, your loved ones, maybe your not-so-loved-ones, and God.

Sing songs to God as you vacuum. God can hear, even if no one else can. If you can’t remember the words, make up what you want to say to God. Tell God how you feel.

Sing to God with your children.  They will enjoy you singing to them and will come to praise God themselves.

Whatever you are doing with your children, find a way to give thanks to God.  They will catch on too.

I remember my son’s rabbit was dying and my youngest son, Toby, stared me square in the face and said, ’Well, bless Sweetie, God can help her’. I worried about this because I thought if I prayed and the rabbit died, Toby would think God hadn’t answered my prayer. But we did pray and Sweetie became much more peaceful and, as far as Toby was concerned, God made her better, even though she died.

My most wonderful times with God have been during feeding times at night, just being held by God.

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