Christ-Centered Mothering - 4 - The Secret to World Changing Motherhood

The Secret to World-Changing Motherhood

Part Four: Understanding the Power of Prayer and Faith

by Leslie Ludy

During a Christian radio interview on motherhood, I was asked to give some practical suggestions to moms who might feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Immediately, I thought of the solution that has most helped me during my own seasons of struggle as a young mom—prayer. I responded that taking time for prayer and time with Christ is the single-most effective way to replace frenzy and frazzle with a clear Heavenly perspective. To my surprise, the radio host didn’t like my answer. “Prayer isn’t a very practical solution,” she argued. “And let’s be honest, we moms just don’t have time for prayer. Sometimes it just makes more sense for a frazzled mom to give up on prayer and get on medication instead.”

It’s truly astounding to me how often we Christians downplay the importance and power of prayer, faith, and trusting in God—especially when it comes to motherhood challenges. For some reason, many of us have embraced the assumption that prayer won’t really bring real-life solutions to our problems, so we relegate it to the bottom of our task list and treat it as an afterthought when we are seeking answers to our problems. We often complain that God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers, yet all too often our prayers are nothing more than a few rushed statements of wishful thinking rather than faith-filled importunate petitions before the Throne of Grace. We frantically seek practical solutions to our struggles, believing we’ll find more help in parenting magazines, research studies, or the advice of other moms than we will at the feet of the One who created our children and loves them more than we ever could. Practical help and human advice have their place, and God can certainly work through them, but when we start placing more confidence in earthly solutions than we do in the power of God, it means we’ve lost sight of who He really is.

As Christian mothers, we should never forget this critical fact: by God’s grace, our lives are supposed to be different than the world around us. If we know Jesus Christ, we should have a completely different focus, different passion, different motivation, and different source of hope than those who do not know Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13 says, “remember…that at that time you were without Christ…having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Once we were without God and without hope. But now, through Jesus Christ, we have an extraordinary hope and future. So why should our lives be marked by the same fear, depression, doubt, and uncertainty as everyone else? Why should we eagerly run to the world for answers to our problems when we have direct access to the Maker of Heaven and earth? Again, I’m not trying to imply that God never uses practical means or human experts to provide the help we need for a particular situation. But many of us try to completely bypass God and put all our hope in practical solutions or other people instead of in the mighty King that we serve.

Since I’ve become a mom, one of my greatest challenges is learning to look to Jesus Christ first for any problem I’m facing. Rather than making prayer and faith an afterthought, I’ve learned that it should be my first turn.

I know from personal experience that this is no easy task. Motherhood provides plenty of logical-sounding excuses that cause us to push prayer and faith to the back burner. And it’s only when we refuse to buy the lie that prayer and faith is unimportant or impossible that we can truly benefit from the power of God in our daily lives.

Becoming a Faith-Filled Mother

If you’ve been holding onto your cares and worries instead of taking them to the feet of Jesus, here are some ways to bring prayer and faith back into a priority position in your life:

1. Cultivate Faith

These days it’s not very common to hear testimonies about God’s faithfulness. Many Christians have exchanged “praise reports” for “being honest” about their doubt and disillusionment with God. Wallowing in doubt, confusion, and uncertainty has become hip and trendy in many Christian circles. Some churches even host what they call “Doubt Nights,” where everyone gets together and vents their doubts about God and His Word. Confusion is celebrated today. But what a miserable way to live! Why would you choose to look at a sunset through a filthy window when you could see it in all its breathtaking beauty by looking look through a sparkling clean window instead? Your faith in God will not be strengthened if you surround yourself with doubt-filled, disillusioned Christians who complain about the ways God has let them down. Rather, go out of your way to find believers who truly believe that God is as big as He says He is, and have seen His faithfulness time and time again in their lives. Read stories from Christian history about the men and women who believed God against all odds, and saw Him come through time and time again. The more you hear testimonies about God’s faithfulness, the more your own faith will grow and the more you will understand the power and potential of prayer.

In addition, focus on the faithfulness of God in your own life. Don’t forget all the many ways He has come through for you and answered your prayers. I love to keep a prayer journal because it allows me to record the faithfulness of God in my life. Whenever I am walking through a season where my faith is being tested, it is uplifting to read back over my journal throughout the past years or months, and see how many times God has come through for me.

One of the best ways to build your faith is by meditating upon the faithfulness of God, whether in your own life or in the lives of others. Rather than bringing your concerns and cares to Him in an attitude of discouragement and doubt, bring them in an attitude of hope and expectancy. Remember, with God all things are possible!

2. Stand on God’s Promises Daily

Mrs. Charles B. Cowman wrote, “Faith has nothing to do with circumstances. It deals entirely with the Word of God.” Instead of dwelling upon your circumstances and the unique challenges you are facing, dwell upon the promises of God instead. If you take time to remind yourself of God’s “great and precious promises” and consciously apply them to your problems and worries, you will begin to gain a faith-filled perspective rather than a defeated one. Here are a few Biblical promises that have made a tremendous impact upon my life:

Dwell upon the promises of God.

He will watch over us and protect us from harm:

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone (Psalm 91:5-12).

He will rescue us from destruction and fill us with good things:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1-4).

He will not withhold any good thing from us:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! (Psalm 84:11-12).

He will give us supernatural strength and power:

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31).

He will keep us in perfect peace as we look to Him:

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3).

He will do even beyond what we ask or think:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever (Ephesians 3:20-21).

He will give us victory over sin:

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:2-6).

He will give us power over the enemy:

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

He will stand against the forces that stand against us:

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn. “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord (Isaiah 54:17).

When I am struggling with a particular issue or concern, I find great strength and perspective by standing upon these promises and putting my hope in God afresh. I encourage you to take time each day to meditate upon God’s amazing promises and apply them to the specific circumstances in your life.

3. Remember Who He Is

Everywhere we look, the world’s wisdom is screaming for our attention. “This groundbreaking new eating program will add years to your life!” or “Protect your children from these harmful chemicals by using our all-natural products!” For the record, I do like to use natural and organic materials in my home when possible, and I enjoy learning more about health, nutrition, and how to nourish my family. But health food, natural products, scientific studies, and the world’s advice should never be where I place my hope. After all, what if America was hit by a devastating war or extreme persecution broke out against Christians, as it has in so many other places around the world? My ability to run to Whole Foods and buy all organic produce or grass-fed meats might be hampered. Do I trust that God would still sustain me and my family, and give us strength to live out our callings, even if we were to find ourselves in a situation where we couldn’t take vitamins or make green smoothies every day?

When we focus too much on natural solutions and worldly tidbits of wisdom, we can quickly lose sight of the most powerful source of help and protection in the universe—Jesus Christ. His power and faithfulness reaches far beyond where any diet program or worldly piece of advice ever could (see Psalm 57:10). So while it’s not wrong to employ natural solutions to your daily problems, be watchful than you never lose sight of who He is and what He offers to you as His child. Practice turning to Him first for every problem that you face. Let any practical solution that you pursue be an outflow of His guidance and direction. Be sure that He remains your ultimate source of hope, confidence, peace, and strength.

Never lose sight of who He is and what He offers to you as His child.

To be freshly reminded of what a mighty God we serve and how deeply He cares about the details of our lives, take some time to study the many names of God in Scripture and what each one means. You can also watch the short film He Is (available for free download at www.ellerslie.com) for a powerful meditation upon His nature as revealed in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation!