As a mother, and a fairly young one at that, I am sometimes confused as to what is appropriate to pray for, but in the four years that I have been parenting, I have found that most anything goes! I have also learned that God does reserve the right to say no, but that just makes us that much more thankful when He says, “Yes.”
When the range of prayers offered up can be as selfish as, “Please, God, let her sleep through the night!” and as frantic as “Please, Father, don’t let her fever get any higher!”, He has to be allowed a certain amount of leeway. I mean, I am not being irreverent, but it seems that every time I prayed that first prayer, the answer was no, unless paired with the second prayer in which case she was so lethargic I would stay by her bed rousing her every couple of minutes to make sure that she was still coherent! Then there are other prayers that you worry about being considered “in vain” like, “Lord, please don’t let her spit up all over her clothes in the car before we get to church.” Really, should we be all that surprised when she is covered in milky residue when we open the door to get her out? Sometimes I even found myself looking heavenward saying, “Now, was that really too much to ask?” before quickly getting her inside to the nursery to change the mess before it got on me. There are even some prayers that might border on the ridiculous, like when I ask God to help my baby go to the bathroom, and that does sound silly to someone who has never seen a baby agonize over constipation and the pain of blocked bowels. But, I did the most sincere praying before my baby was ever born.
When I was about 27 weeks pregnant, I started experiencing severe pain with my pregnancy. One day the pain was so intense that I had to go to the hospital. The whole way there I was in a panic, “Please God, take care of my baby! Please let everything be okay.” In just a short amount of time we were informed that the baby had dropped, and I would need to be on bed rest. Hearing that was like hearing that there was a fault line in my living room that would set off an earthquake that could destroy the world. Immediately I got very serious about this child within, careful to be on my feet only when I absolutely had to like when walking to the bathroom. (Had I been able to get a catheter like I had wanted I would have even eliminated that!) My prayers were offered every minute that God would watch over my daughter, that He would hold her inside of me. I clung to the verse in Psalms that said before she was knitted together in my womb, He knew her. I concentrated on doing only what was right for her no matter what an inconvenience it was to me or anyone else.
After a couple of weeks of complete bed rest and much prayer, I went back to the doctor for a follow up. Waiting in the office was torture. What would he say? What would he find? Was it right for me to be sitting this long in the waiting room, or should I try and group some chairs together and lay down? Relief in the form of tears flooded my face when after the exam I was told that nothing had changed, the baby was stationary and my rest could be moved to minimal (meaning no heavy lifting or long walks). And, 9 weeks later, after the agony of thinking she might come early, my healthy little girl had to be coaxed out by doctors and drugs!
This is a story that is simple and probably laughable to some who have suffered much more in pregnancy or preterm labor like my sister-in-law or my close friend, but it was life threatening for me. All of my life I had dreamed of the day that I would be a mother, and for a time, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to experience that with the child I carried. Thankfully, when I prayed those prayers of deep desire and devastation, God, Who reserved the right to say no, proclaimed a resounding, “Yes!”
When the apostle Paul said to "pray without ceasing," he was most definitely thinking like a mother. I never talked to God before as much as I do now, and if I did, it was most likely to pray for a blessing on me. Those blessings are now prayed for my little ones (I have two healthy girls now): A blessing of a fine husband for each of them some day, a blessing of health, a blessing of safe keeping, a blessing of sweet dreams, and most importantly, the blessing of a personal relationship with Christ. Honestly, I still catch myself praying for the little things that seem so mundane and trivial, and strangely enough, He sometimes answers “Yes!”