When You’re Too Busy to Pray

Healthy Simplicity - RuthI started looking at the book of Ruth a couple of months ago. It’s been on my heart all of these weeks even though I haven’t done another post until now. Today I am focusing on Ruth 1:6-9.

6  Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
7  Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
8  And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9  The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

After ten years Naomi has been left without a husband or sons. Then she hears the happy news that the famine is over in Bethlehem, her home town. She decides to return as there is nothing to hold her to Moab.

“Bread” in the Bible is a symbol of life. Jesus calls Himself the “bread of life” in John 6:33 and 48. Bethlehem means “house of bread”. Naomi is leaving a place that only represents death to her to go to the place of life.

In the custom of that place and time Naomi’s two daughters-in-law walk down the road with her as she leaves. Finally, Naomi decides they have accompanied her far enough and urges them to go home now.

Obviously these three women had a good relationship. There is so much tender love and affection in these verses. I do not believe that in-laws have to be at odds with each other and cringe when I hear “mother-in-law” jokes.

Naomi blesses her daughters-in-law.  She talks about their kindness to her and to their deceased husbands (her sons). She also prays that they will find another husband. Sometimes I wonder if part of her and their weeping comes from this prayer. For those days it was a fairly hopeless prayer. These women had been married for ten years and neither had a child. They would not have been considered desirable because of their barrenness.

I think about how this applies to me and my spiritual life. Those times when I am not even trying to pray or read my Bible – my heart is barren of spiritual food and my life becomes less than desirable. I have less patience with those around me. My days seem to spin away with nothing accomplished. I make poor decisions.

Notice I said “when I’m not even trying“. I think this is a key here especially for mothers. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. As a mother our time is not our own. We may have plans to get up a half hour early so we can have some quiet time to pray, read our Bible, organize ourselves for the day. Then the baby gets up several times to nurse in the night, or the toddler has a nightmare that takes a long time to calm down from, or we get a call from a friend or family member late at night because they just need someone to talk to. We end up sleeping through that hoped-for half hour. Discouragement sets in.

But I think the Lord understands our hearts. Understands when we want to do more but just humanly can’t. I remember asking an older lady who had raised four children how she found time to pray. Pointing to her kitchen sink she said, “I’ve done a lot of praying right there.” What an encouragement to me. Ideal, no. But again, the Lord sees our heart. He meets us where we’re at, and on those days when you can’t get five minutes to yourself to even use the bathroom pray while you’re doing the dishes, pray with and for your toddler when you lay him down for a nap, pray with your older child when they’re not understanding something in school, pray while you fold laundry, thank God when you go to bed that you’ve fed, clothed and loved your family for another day.

Another idea I recently read on a Facebook forum has to do with Bible reading. Write a verse on a card and carry it with you all day. Read it and meditate on it as you go about your day. I think that one verse will be more meaningful to you than a chapter or two read out of duty at the end of the day when you’re so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open.

Be encouraged busy mom God sees your heart and loves you. There will be times and seasons when you can spend more time praying, reading your Bible, even having a ministry to those outside your home. For now, give yourself to the precious family God has blessed you with, and He will not fail to meet your needs.

Linked to: Worshipful Living, Counting My Blessings

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer is the happily married wife of a pastor and the somewhat-tired-but-oh-so happy mum to eight beautiful children. She loves to try new healthy recipes, sew, read to her children, garden and play the piano.
Jennifer Schonhaar

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  1. Julie Geoffrion

    Thanks. Good thoughts. I have found that praying goes hand in hand with showering these days (even WITH having a consistent quiet time now that my kids are older). I think the habit has been formed from the days when that WAS my quiet place LOL – when the kids were napping and I was showering ;).
    Ministry to your children is so important. It has become all important to me that my kids think godly thoughts consistently and that conversation turns to God in the every day handling of their lives. If THEY can form those habits when young, then hopefully it will carry through when they are older ;).

    • JenSchon

      I pray when I’m nursing the baby early in the morning while the house is quiet.
      Hugo likes to pray with the children over their problems. Then when it works out he tells them, “See, God answers prayer.”

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