Have you been so busy lately that you’ve forgotten things that you put on your to-do list? School, kids, work, house work, homework are all intertwined responsibilities that you and your companion are focused on to run the household. Then you try to add in quality time such as NBA playoffs, internet surfing, and children’s playtime… a family’s “work” is hardly done. But, after all the Do’s and Don’ts for the day, have you sat down with your family to pray,? While Blackberry’s, kindles, Apple ipads and ipods, Playstation 3’s and other technical equipment can capture our attention, the smallest gesture to show you are focused on family…can change your life. Very opinionated? Yes, but for good reason.
Believe it or not, the old-school cliché, “A family that prays together, stays together” is actually a very positive message that we can learn from in the 21st century despite our busy schedules. Pastor BW McClendon of the St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, Texas often quotes, “It’s hard to be mad at my wife after I finish praying.” After spending time in prayer, while building a closer connection to God, it is quite difficult for you and your spouse/significant other to be angry, to cheat on each other, or even to ignore each others’ needs.
A movie, dinner, picnic, or a designated date night (see article “Date Night” published March 8, 2011) are all great examples of quality time. Quality time should involve three entities if you are in a relationship: God, me, and “them”. Before starting your day, spend a quiet moment alone in prayer (praying for yourself, family, and others) and reading a scripture. Ask God to allow you the strength to complete the many tasks you have lined up for that day1. Even allow Him an opening to add or to delete from that to-do list so that you spend time with the people who matter the most: your family. After you’ve prayed, take time out for yourself to calm your spirit and clear your mind. Besides, have you noticed that when you are free from everyday stress, you think clearer and make better decisions?
After you’ve taken time out for God and for yourself to ensure that you have good physical and mental health, then you can move on to “them”. That would include taking care of your spouse, children, outside family members, church, school, community, and the world…As vast as that may seem the simple task of prayer gets your mind and body prepared for the many tasks you have today. Remember that it all starts with prayer, which is what YOU have done for them lately.
1. Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.