Do you have a nighttime prayer that you remember saying with your mother and father from your childhood? I do! Parents set a great example for young children when they pray, and it seems to me that they exceed this example when they lead their children who then learn to pray. In my home, my father taught me to pray, but there came a time when he was no longer around and my mother stepped right in and began to teach me and my younger sisters to pray in the same way. Each night we all prayed out loud and we mentioned beforehand something good God had done that day acknowledging His presence in our lives.
A sermon by our pastor encouraged my mother to add to our prayer Psalm 23. Our mother led us in not only memorizing the verses of Psalm 23, but in an understanding of their meaning. She explained to us the meaning of the words, and helped us picture the imagery of the verses in our minds. The verses were placed on the wall in our room and we were encouraged to read them every day. For her, it was not enough to just recite words, they were supposed to be meaningful conversation with God.
The position of the mother is one that continues on long after her children have left her home. When her children begin to have their own families they find themselves following in her footsteps in teaching their children to have meaningful conversation with God and to understand the meaning of the words of the Bible.
Perhaps it is the way in which a mother is able to joyfully do the same things day after day in the raising of her children that makes her an incredibly effective teacher in the area of prayer. She understands the importance of doing it right, of doing it right this time, and doing it right the next time. She understands that you don’t love every child the exact same way, but in the exact way that they need to be loved, and that each child needs love each day. A mother knows that she hasn’t taught a child to do something until her child can begin to do the task on their own.
Personal prayer is something we can do together, yet not something that can be done for us by someone else. Mothers appear to know this because they remind us that one day, we will be out of the house and will need to do things for ourselves. Prayer is one of these things that mom is not always going to be there to do for us, and someday, she will no longer be here to do it with us.
One family shared that as their mother was fading from this world and her children were gathered around her they asked her to pray for them one more time. She answered, with a smile, “I thought that I had taught you that! Do you mean you haven’t learned it by now?” She was just having a little fun and they did all laugh at her spirit, but she went on to say, “I will pray for you, but I also want to pray with you.” She began the prayer time just as she had when they were little, and by the time the circle of prayer had closed with the youngest child saying an amen, their mother had gone—home to Heaven.
A mother is a beautiful person, she gives and sacrifices, encourages and inspires, patches you up and puts you back on your feet, but a mother who prays for you and with you does all of that and more in that she is an eternal blessing in your life and that of your family. I hope that you will take the time to cherish your mother this year, and if she is still here, may I suggest that you take the time to ask her to pray with you, that you may hear her voice lifted up to our Lord in praise and gratitude, in worship and in faith, in love for you and the One who gave you to her.
To all of our mothers I pray that your day is blessed and that we, your children, are able—in a significant way—express to you all that God gave us when He gave us you to be our mothers.