The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. (Proverbs 14:1)
For the past few Mondays I’ve been exploring the question: Who am I called to be in my home? Wise – building my home through my attitude and my hands’ work. Today I’m focusing on my prayer life, because I realized that what I do when I’m alone, behind closed doors, is more important than anything I do in the kitchen, garden, or cellar. It is also the source of my attitude.
As I pondered the third part of this series, My Prayer Life, a beautiful picture came to me:
Some people have prayer gardens. Usually there’s a bench in it where you can sit in peace and privacy, surrounded by flowers and vines and overhanging trees, lifting praises and requests to the Creator. Very inspiring.
I’m cultivating a prayer garden too, but it’s invisible. Right now our real garden is out in the open sun, only used for growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The prayer one is upstairs in my devotions spot, where I meet alone with God daily and pour out my heart to Him.
I can certainly sit in peace and privacy there, but I’m surrounded by carpet, wall, and small table. However, I like to think that I’m helping good, beautiful things grow in the lives of the people I pray for. After all, it says in James 5:16 that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
The hand rake, manure, and watering can of the patient gardener avails much – fresh goodies for the table, grown for pennies, better than anything you can buy in the store. The wise woman whose heart is right with God has the tools at her fingertips to help cause such richness in the lives of the people around her, especially her family.
If I’m to build my house, or grow my garden, in a figurative sense, I have to start at root level – get it? How can I expect to see my sons grow up into well-rounded, godly men if I’m not willing to pray for them on a daily basis that they’ll put their trust in Jesus and have warrior hearts for Him? How can I claim to be my husband’s helper if I don’t passionately lift him up to God every day for the needs I alone may know?
When I was expecting Riley, my Mother gave me a copy of A Mother’s Heart, one of the best books I ever read. The author, Jean Fleming, challenged me to pray with intelligence, knowing my husband and children, and to use God’s Word as a sharp and effective tool for helping them grow.
This is certainly not a call to pray “God, they’re frustrating me today! Can’t you change them? Good grief!” But somehow I’m beginning to see that I play a crucial role in the well-being of my family – building them up – praying for their protection, growth, and peace. Prayers like Ephesians 1:16-19 can be claimed word for word for those I love.
I know I was covered in prayer the same way, by my parents in particular. I’m very grateful to them for being patient “gardeners” for me behind closed doors. God protected me from some nasty pitfalls and bad situations (some things I’m sure I don’t know) because my parents lifted me up in prayer.
This seems like the simplest way to build, and maybe it is. But boy is it hard on mornings like today when I’m exhausted and upset to be up way earlier than I was planning. Does that make Jon and Riley’s lives any less important? Nope.
As Jon and I age and our children grow, I hope each one knows how much I love them. There’s a whole Book about how much God loves them! God says His Word is living and active, and He alone makes the fruit grow from it, out of thin air. He is our rain, sun, dirt, fence, and fresh air.
By God’s grace we grow from this…
…and God waits to hear the prayers full of that desire.