- End world hunger
- Reach every nation, tribe, and tongue for Christ
- Topple an oppressive government
I'm not saying you can do all these things at once, mind you. But one at a time, they're not that daunting.
I know, I know. You have a pretty full schedule as it is. The kids, the house, the pets. Not to mention crayon on the bathroom mirror, spaghetti caked into the carpet, and something weird growing in the fridge. You're hoping you're going to make it to nap time without needing shock paddles—and not necessarily for your heart.
Relax. I have a simple plan to overcome the impossible.
We don't have to conquer the evils of a fallen world singlehandedly. Nor immediately. Nor necessarily with our own tired hands and feet (or swords, what have you).
But I think we too easily forget the awesome, unfathomable, unstoppable power of prayer. Even if it's a few simple words, God hears them. Why else would 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instruct us to pray continually?
The enemy of our hearts would like us to believe we don't—or can't—matter. That we can't effect change from our kitchen while we coax oatmeal into a toddler more interested in creating a new form of Play-doh.
Maybe we don't have time to get on our knees right then and there. It's not a good idea anyway. We'd get distracted noticing yesterday's juice disaster we didn't clean up as well as we'd thought. Just because we can't daily seclude ourselves to pray for world issues doesn't mean we're out of the game.
Simple triggers in our everyday routine can remind us to pray those brief but oh-so-necessary words of prayer. We probably already use some form of this without realizing it. Say your kindergartener just stuffed your yowling cat into the washing machine, and he wants to know how to start the cycle. You can hardly blame him. He's only trying to help the cat clean off the bubble gum stuck to its back (and the action figure stuck to the gum). How Spiderman came to be bronco busting the family feline, no one is willing to admit. We often use this type of situation to trigger a prayer for patience, or a quick plea that we don't have to shave the cat.
So how does that achieve the impossible list? We recruit our morning routine to trigger our prayers.
End world hunger
Making breakfast? You might be praying no one is giving the dog a make-over while your back is turned, and that's reasonable, even necessary if your house runs like mine. But can we offer up another few words for God's provision around the world? One thought, one sentence for those who must do without breakfast will matter to our listening God. Imagine the amount of world-changing prayer that can happen while moms or dads everywhere scramble an egg, fill a juice glass, or butter toast.
This isn't about feeling guilty, or overburdening ourselves, or putting another thing on our to-do lists. It's simply a way to gain perspective outside our own homes and realize we can make a difference one Pop-Tart at a time.
Reach every nation, tribe, and tongue for Christ
What about getting dressed? How many of our clothes are made in other countries? While we finagle ourselves or our rubber-limbed infants into something suitable for the wear and tear of another day, we can peek at the label. Made in China? Perfect. China is closed to missionaries. We can ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.
Made in Bangladesh? Vietnam? India? Breathe a prayer. Just one. God. Will. Hear.
No labels? No worries. We can pray for somebody who dresses completely opposite from us. Someone who wears a parka in the frozen Arctic tundra, or wears a loincloth in jungle heat. We, in our own homes, up to our ears in parenthood, are not irrelevant. Besides, we might raise a daughter who picks up the habit of praying for the world while she gets dressed. That'll give us a reason to endure, even anticipate, the coming teen years where she'll change her clothes four times a day.
Topple an oppressive government
You think toppling an oppressive government is impossible from your bungalow home? Come on, our kids think we parents are an oppressive government all the time. How often does conflict arise before breakfast? When our minions complain—and we know they will—can we spare a few seconds to pray we'll be fair and wise, and then offer a quick word for justice around the world?
Millions live in fear, in tyranny, and God knows who they are. We don't have to whip out a world map and give him longitude and latitude. What if every argument in every Christian household launched a simple prayer for world peace?
These short pleas aren't meant to be the entirety of our prayer life. Extended times communing with God refresh our souls like nothing else can. But our one-sentence prayers can help keep our spirit in tune with God's plan for humanity, and in turn, connected with him. Trust me, it's a better adhesive than bubble gum.
Erin Taylor Young is a freelance author, humorist, and praying mom who lives with her family in Oklahoma. www.erintayloryoung.com