Becoming a mom has drastically improved my prayer life.
The other night as I was in bed waiting for sleep to catch up with my ridiculously-tired-yet-unable-to-rest-pregnant-self, I was praying for my kiddos. My prayers for Claire and little peanut #2 went something like this…
“I pray that they will love You with all of their hearts…that they will come to know you at an early age…that they will be pleasing to You…”
And then I stopped. What would it take for my precious kids to be pleasing to God?
For that matter, what would it take for me to be pleasing to God?
There are so many ways that we try to answer that question, consciously or not. And most of them revolve around action…either doing something or not doing something…either effort or sacrifice.
Look at me, I’m teaching a Bible study. I’m serving at VBS. I’m using my talents in the church. Won’t God be proud of me?
Or…I’m leaving all my family and friends to go on the mission field. I’m trading in my desires to spend more time with my kids. I’m giving away my money and possessions to meet needs. God will be so pleased.
But then I think about Claire. I love Claire no matter what and I am most pleased with her when she trusts me. When she runs to me if she is afraid…when she looks to me for affirmation…when she obeys because she knows that I love her and I know what is best for her.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” In all my ways of trying to please God, I am missing out on the simple answer…Trust Him. Have faith. Believe that He is real, that He is love, and that He desires to bless me if I desire to know Him.
If Claire obeys me out of fear, or out of some notion that she can earn my favor, then I really am not pleased at all, because I know that she must not really trust me as her mommy. And it’s a subtle difference, really, because obedience motivated by faith looks very much like obedience prompted by false motives. But that subtle distinction is the difference between life and death, between blessing and curse.
So when I pray for my kids to be pleasing to God, I am praying for them to have great faith. I am praying for them to trust in the Father’s character and goodness. And I am praying for them to lead lives of obedience...and that their obedience would always be motivated by faith.