For years I have told people that I believe in the power of prayer. I have affirmed with my speech that “prayer changes things”. I know in my mind and in my heart that it is true. A few years ago at a ladies retreat, the speaker, Nancy Campbell talked about prayer. She quizzed us on scripture pertaining to prayer. “Pray without ceasing!”, “Devote yourselves to prayer”, “Pray for us that the message of the Lord may be spread”, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions”. There are at least 650 references to prayer in the Bible, probably more. I have heard them….. I am familiar with them. But, do I believe them? Do I live like I believe that this is truth and that prayer is as powerful as these verses are to suggest?
I was challenged that weekend to pray for my own children. If I do not pray for my children, who will do it? I cannot rely on a grandparent or a prayer warrior friend to cover my children with prayer. It is my duty and my delight. I must be vigilant for we live in a spiritual battle that is before us every day. I must be purposeful in praying for my children. I had to look at my prayer life and found that it was sorely lacking. Not only in regards to my children, but in all things. My heart was heavy. I was failing to pray for my own children! I was very conscientious day to day to prepare for them nourishing foods, to educate them and put into their brains a Biblical worldview. All of these things were good but, I had neglected to pray for my children. I had left them uncovered.
I’m not sure about all moms but, with a big family when I did remember in the hustle and bustle of life to hunker down and pray for my children, I started at the top of the age list and worked my way down. Undoubtedly I would be interrupted after only a partial list due to my own distractibility or the needs of those very ones I was trying to pray for. So the next time, I would start with the youngest and work my way up. Again, I would be pulled away and there was always someone who got left out. The squeakiest wheel got the most prayer and the quietest one (who happened to be in the middle) got forgotten. This was unacceptable! Here, the most basic of parental duties and I was abnegating my role. I was surrendering my most powerful weapon in the protection of my family. I had abandoned my post. This was not my heart. I needed a plan!
As Nancy shared that same weekend about the priests of Israel and their garments that held the names of the tribes of Israel an idea began to take shape. On the ephod and on the breastplate of the priestly garments were the names of the tribes. Exodus 28:29 “So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgement on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular rememberance before the Lord.” I realized that I could no longer leave out any of “my tribe” but that I needed to carry them with me as I carried out my role to cover them and bring their names before the Lord.
I am not much of a jewelry girl. It seems jewelry is most inconvenient because either I don’t know how to match it to my clothing, it makes noise or just simply gets in the way when I am trying to be productive. I knew I couldn’t manage a breastplate or an ephod! But I needed a physical reminder.
I now wear a bracelet for each of my children. It is a simple elastic string of beads that matches just about everything and really, I don’t care if it doesn’t match because these bracelets are of greater importance than fashion! There are beads on each bracelet that spell out my children’s names. Every morning, I put the bracelets on my left wrist. As I pray for them, I move the bracelets to my right wrist. Now if I am interrupted, I don’t lose my place! If I pray for them as the Lord leads I don’t lose my place because it doesn’t have to be done in order. (As I pass my bathroom counter here and there, if I have finished praying for some, I slip those bracelets back onto the counter to be ready for the next day) As I go about my day driving on errands, my wrist is right there before me at the steering wheel and I turn off the radio and enter into prayer. If ever as I cook or wash dishes, I start to think, “these bracelets are getting in the way” I am reminded that my true work for the day is not completed and I am called to pray. When I slip away to fold laundry, instead of my mind wandering, I check my wrist and get down to the real business of my home. The prayer bracelets are with me as I go.
My children now know about my bracelets. It is the sweetest thing when my 7 year old comes up to me and lovingly caresses my arm and checks each bracelet looking for her name. “Mommy, you haven’t prayed for me yet?” or with excitement, “Mommy! You prayed for me already!”
I find that when I pray for each child, the Lord brings into my heart all of the things surrounding that child. I find that my prayer life is becoming quite unbounded as I am now praying for their friends, their workplaces, their future spouses, and the ministries that God has called them to. I have also made a bracelet for my husband and pray for him daily now as well. Whereas I used to be unable to find the time to pray for the nine precious children and husband that the Lord has blessed me with, I have discovered that I had the time all along, I was just distracted. My walk with God is stronger as I talk with Him all day long concerning the most exciting and the dullest of things.
So I will ask you what was asked of me, “Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you really believe?” Are you living what you believe? This is one of those times where a plan is necessary. The enemy wants to distract us from this most powerful weapon. Do not lose ground. May you rise up as women of prayer!
(As a follow up, I am posting the materials I use to make my bracelets. I like to use a stretchy cord that is soft so I pair it with collapsible head beading needles for stringing. I always make sure the colored beads have a hole compatible with the thickness of the cord and I like to use a dot of E6000 cement on the knot to make sure it stays put. The alphabet beads can be found many places but I got mine from Oriental Trading Company. The silver does wear off in time but aesthetics is not the only reason for these bracelets so I don’t let it bother me!)
(This article first appeared in the Above Rubies magazine issue 93, February. 2017)