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Pre-teen Hygiene and Prayer

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b

Are all pre-teen boys as temperamental about showering as mine? Some days it seems like we can’t get him out of the shower, and others, he seems greasier after he gets out! (Insert deep "Sigh...") Recently I asked my son to shower before church, and before I could even heat my pan to fry eggs he came back to the kitchen and announced he was done. What?!?

As I turned around I noticed several things. First, his hair was bone dry. Second, he was still wearing his same gross pajamas that I’d already reminded him needed to be washed….yesterday. I really hope I’m not the only one that’s experienced this!

When I questioned his thoroughness, he was indignant. He demonstrated how he had washed off his arms and explained how hot the water had been. His effort to convince me was so melodramatic, that it was a dead giveaway- of course, he hadn’t fully showered.

In the middle of this opportunity to correct my son, God took time to correct me. Specifically, I felt a tug in my heart regarding my prayer life.

I grew up in a home with a heritage of prayer. My parents and grandparents demonstrated passion for prayer, and I even have an aunt that has faithfully sent out a daily prayer for more than 8 years to anyone willing to join her mailing list! Wow! I KNOW God’s word says that “the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective”, but how often have my prayers been the equivalent of my son’s shower?

How often have I stood next to the tub fully clothed, wet the washcloth, rubbed it on my exposed skin and declared myself clean. Maybe add a bit of dry shampoo or a healthy dose of body spray. How often have I convinced myself that I’ve taken everything to my Heavenly Father and have waited on Him in order to simply take matters into my own hands?

God’s word tells us we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) but we should also “not keep babbling on” (Matthew 6:7). Where does that leave us? As I pondered what this meant for me, I realized that my prayer life has mostly been stale one-sided comments spoken in the moments of my fear, failure and frustration. While there is time a place for desperation prayers to our Father, when your prayer life is simply a series of a cursory conversations between you and God, you might as well be showering with a wet wipe.

So, now what do we do? Thankfully, there is a simple solution - we pray God’s word daily. We ask for discernment and turn God’s word into prayers for our everyday life. For example, I can pray for my child, “God, thank you for rewarding me with the heritage children (Psalm 127:3). Thank you for filling me with wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 3:13-15) as I teach them your ways, and trust that they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6)."

This is just an example of how easy it is to refresh our prayer life. I was intimidated to begin this new pattern, but God reminded me that it doesn’t require training, it requires faith. Let’s begin this prayer journey together, and see what God does along the way!

-Christina Williams

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