A Prayer for When Life is Messy
By Kelly O’Dell
"He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love." (Zephaniah 3:17)
Today I am not the most shining example of motherhood. The sun is shining but I am certainly not. I yelled at my 14-year-old son at 5:45 a.m. when he didn’t want to wake up for morning soccer practice and then cried myself back to sleep. I tried to have a discussion with my 21-year-old about a simple chore I’ve asked her to do for weeks, with no success, and it ended with both of us shouting and me screaming at her, grabbing my bag, and leaving the house in tears. It sounds stupid. And it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m fuming mad and not feeling all that loving or prayerful right now.
I know these are not life-and-death situations. So many of the things we face daily are huge. True loss, severe and unavoidable consequences, serious and real stuff that far surpasses stress-and hormone-induced rage. It’s never just one situation that makes it hard to pray, but an accumulation. Emotions and losses. Disappointments and mistakes.
It’s not realistic to think that we’ll ever be without pain or fear or grief or doubt or chaos.
We need God now, every single day, each and every moment, not at some unforeseeable point in the future. Not only in the moments of crisis, but in the days in between.
The only way to get through anything—to get through everything—is to pray.
So I sit. I imagine the whirring gears in my mind slowing, then stopping. I focus on stilling my entire body. I close my eyes and begin. “Lord...” I take a deep breath, and I feel anxiety fluttering again, so I take another. I don’t even try to find words. I soak in the presence of God. Knowing that whatever is ailing me, He can fix. Whatever is lost can be restored. Whatever troubles me can be managed.
I certainly don’t mean to oversimplify the process, but the truth is that something supernatural happens when we long for Him. When we pray. When we recognize our own limitations, when we acknowledge the barriers before us. When we ask God to quiet our souls and renew our strength.
Pray with me:
Prince of Peace, I find myself unable to cope with life sometimes. Instead of feeling grateful, I feel bogged down by the responsibilities of all that You’ve given me. I want to live out Your love, but I find myself consumed with frustration, jealousy, or worry. I want to grow closer to You, but in practice, I’m too tired or bored or busy. Circumstances will rarely be ideal; I know that. But I also know that the only thing that makes life worthwhile is living it with You. Show me how to pray when things aren’t perfect. Show me how to put aside all of the weights and sins and emotions that tangle me up. And demonstrate to me, daily, the reality that if I spend time with You, things will be better. I will be better. Amen.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from “How to Pray When Life is Messy” by Kelly O’Dell Stanley. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.