When my husband Andy and I were newlyweds, our prayers sounded very different from one another. We were raised in different denominations, and although we were both Christ-followers, our prayers sounded very different. I was casual in my approach; a conversation, rather. More of a “Hey, God. What’s up?!” Andy was more formal; “Thee” and “Thou”, constantly reminding God who He was by {all} His names. I viewed God as more of a father figure, and because of my relationship with my own earthly father, I had a casual dialogue. Andy viewed God in the “Creator of the Universe” sense and showed signs of deep respect, reverence, and awe.

Neither was right – and neither was wrong. Our prayers were simply different. As we shared the discipline of prayer with one another, we grew to have more of a common voice and tone. Sometimes our prayers would be in desperation, other times joyous praise. We would hold hands, bow our heads, or hit our knees. There were times we would lift our hands and sing scripture laced songs back to Him. Other times we were filled with so much grief and sorrow that we rested in the comfort of the prayers others were praying over us.

Andy and I share a deep closeness with each other and our Heavenly Father through prayer. Without it, I don’t even want to think about how we would be able to handle life’s blows. Had Andy and I not been in conversation with Jesus daily, I honestly don’t think our marriage would have survived our daughter’s birth.

Unknown to us during pregnancy, our firstborn, Emery, was born with a genetic abnormality that caused her to have life-threatening heart complications. What was supposed to be the bonding, snuggling, and getting-to-know-you time with my first baby quickly became day-in and day-out of testing, appointments with every ‘ologist under the sun, and so much fear and anxiety of “what if?”. I was a shell of a mom going through the typical newborn motions, coupled with non-stop research on her condition. Truth be told, I didn’t think she would survive. Because of that, I put up walls to protect myself from heartache in the event she didn’t make it.

My prayers became repetitive, “Please, God. Don’t let her die. Heal her.” I didn’t know what else to pray. I had the prayer knocked out of me. I became detached. Andy would hold me close as I sobbed, and he would pray for us. I could feel God’s peace through Andy’s prayers, but I was literally prayed-out. Others prayed and interceded on our behalf. We were desperate for the prayers of our friends, family, and anyone who had heard Emery’s story to carry us through the unknown.

James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” We are called to pray in both bad and good times. Why is it so much easier to pray out of desperation and worry than it is praise?! When we are crying out, we become vulnerable and claim our dependency in God. Desperation can yield fruit. When you cry out to Him, you are literally handing over your prayer to the Lord, knowing fully He hears you and He will respond. You are admitting it isn’t something you can take care of or manage on your own, because let’s be honest, as moms, we have probably tried to fix it ourselves before bringing it to God. By crying out, you are admitting that He is greater than you.

James 5:14 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” While it should be my desire to have prayer as an intimate part of my relationship with the Lord, we are NOT called to pray alone. We need to drop the “I can do it all” attitude and seek the prayers of believers.

It was through the multitude of other believer’s prayers that we witnessed healing in Emery’s heart. Science and statistics were preparing us for immediate surgery, while the Almighty Hand of God was healing our daughter’s heart before our eyes. Our pleas of desperation turned to praise. Our praise turned to elation. Our elation and thankfulness to God for what He was doing in her life turned into prayer. While Emery’s heart isn’t completely “healthy” today, we praise Him for every day we have with her this side of heaven.

What does prayer look like to you as a mom? Is it something you do when you have nothing left to give at the end of the day and you flippantly throw up your arms saying, “Jesus take the wheel?”  Guilty. Is it at dinner time after you’ve taken a bite of your food, only to see the judgmental glances of your children staring back at you? Guilty. Is it before you put them on the bus or send them out the door with their car keys praying for their safety and protection? Is it only before bedtime? Maybe just Christmas or Easter?

Deepen your relationship with Him, your children, and your spouse, and make prayer a HUGE part of your life.

Although Andy and my style of prayer has changed over time and continues to change based on our circumstances, one thing stays constant: our necessity to bring EVERYTHING to Him in prayer. No matter how you pray or what your pray, DO IT! If it burdens you – it burdens Him. If it delights your heart – it is THRILLING to His!  It is imperative we pray for our children, we pray with our children, and we pray with our spouses and other believers over our children.