I have conversations with my kids quite frequently. Because you kind of have to talk to the people who inhabit the same house as you. When they were little this consisted of mostly me telling them what to do and them saying “no” (terrible two’s or three’s anyone?) and me trying to ask questions that would result in them saying their oh-so-cute interpretations of a word.
Me: Where should we go today?
Child: The PAYDEEDOUND! (more commonly known as the playground)
Me: You are so sticky! What should we clean your hands with?
Child: WHOPS! (also known as wipes)
Now our conversations often center around Minecraft, new apps, and sports. And sometimes I corner them in the car and bring up something deeper. I love that they are big enough now that I can ask them things like “What did you think of the message on Sunday Morning?” Wow. How did we get here so fast?
And last week I had such a talk. It was about controlling our thought life. My girl told me she got the gist of all that was taught on Sunday, but felt frustrated that there really wasn’t too much helpful information on how to apply it to everyday life. In other words, it would probably be part of her next brain dump in which all the things she has learned and decided aren’t valuable life information disappear from her brain. And I kind of agreed that, especially in how to apply it to a 14 year old’s life, there definitely wasn’t really a practical application.
Now, I had just read Max Lucado’s latest book “Before Amen” about prayer and I actually had some good practical advice ready to pour out because of it. The topic of the message was mental health and how only through having constant communication with God throughout the day can we truly be victorious in this area. Shew. That’s a tall order for me and it was certainly beyond her grasp of how to apply this idea of “Pray without ceasing” to daily life. Pray all the time? But she’s got friends to hang out with, video games to play, music to listen to and school work to do.
So here are a few of my thoughts on “Before Amen.”
First of all…read the book. Even if you are feeling like your prayer life is vibrant and alive, I feel certain you’ll be challenged to think some new thoughts about how we converse with God. I love how simple and straightforward this book was, while still managing to punch me in the gut every single time I picked it up. You’ll feel sort of like you’re sitting across the table from ML, having a chat over a cup of coffee with someone who just really wants to spill some grace into your life.
Secondly…the Pocket Prayer. Lucado broke down the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples into a simple barebones prayer that’s easy to recall and perfectly articulate in its simplicity. Then he took each element of that simple prayer and wrote specifically about it. If you find your prayer life to be somewhat lacking during a busy season, when you feel like you just don’t have time to pray or prayer feels empty and pointless, this is where you need to take some time to learn about how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.
If you feel frustrated because you still don’t have this figured out…well, neither did the disciples and they spent almost every waking moment with JESUS for three whole years. You’re in good company, my friend.
And third…if you have gotten discouraged and just feel like you are praying at a popcorn ceiling that never seems to show the slightest care in the world for you because ceilings have a way of doing that, this might be just what you need to read to help you open up those long neglected lines of communication. Sometimes our simple cry of “I need help” is just the very thing that God has been waiting for from us. He wants us to lean into him and share our days with him. Isn’t that a lovely thought?
This book will be staying on my shelf because I truly think it warrants a reread and I’m hopeful my children might be interested in it in the near future. And it’s not often that I choose to keep a book.
p.s. If you’ve got little people in your house, you should definitely check out Max Lucado’s children’s books. My daughter actually recognized Max Lucado’s name because she loved his books “You Are Special” and “You Are Mine” so much. How awesome is that?
Favorite Thing: Yes!