It isn’t that I don’t pray. As a mother of six children, I feel like prayer comes with my breaths, and not just when a son is barreling down our steep hill on a wobbly bike at a speedy clip. Not just when my teen daughter pulls away from our house in her own car, stretching her wings a bit further. Not when a Very Big Problem breezes through our front door and puts itself on the couch, immovable and menacing. No, not just then, but when washing dishes and pulling weeds, and over sleeping kids burrowed into their pillows.
It isn’t that I don’t pray, but I am an unruly soldier, see?
“Father, can you give me a rule of prayer?” I asked, not knowing how hard I’d fail at keeping it.
He told me to say morning and evening prayers. They aren’t long; they aren’t arduous. It is a beginning, not a feat. A starting place, not a finish line. “Okay; I’ll probably fail. I’ll try.”
So, I peer around the merlon with my bow tautly drawn, an arrow sighted upon the enemy. Releasing the arrow with an exhale I watch it strike the mark. There is nothing amiss with that. But when my general gives the command to fire, where am I? Asleep, slumped against the parapet? Daydreaming? My bowline slack, my arrows unfired? I wasn’t obedient to my General; I wasn’t a disciplined soldier. I couldn’t be counted on to be ready when He gave the command to loose my arrow. He knows the enemy better than I; that day’s beginning and day’s end need to be guarded especially by the arrows of prayer, that listening to the General is essential for my survival and the efficacy of my fight. That I must start and end my days fully in His presence, paying attention with mind and heart to Him.
I can say with St. Paul that the good I should do, I do not do. Or I do it so hit and miss that I am unreliable at best.
I want to be a reliable soldier; I need to be one. Please pray for me.