I’ve been juggling lately. I’ve been juggling this call to pursue a career, this call to pour out to people who don’t live within the walls of our little colonial home on a country road, and this call to invest in the people who do share space within these walls. We each have our own kinds of juggling.
We juggle careers and families.
We juggle ministries and marriages.
We juggle callings and daily needs that feel more humble than our public service but actually happen to be the heart and soul of the deep change God is doing inside of us.
Sometimes the quiet part of the calling is actually the most important.
I’ve been preaching this to myself lately: the rocking of this baby in the night, the endless cycle of throwing tiny garments into the sloshing machine, the school lessons over peanut butter and jelly while the little one lounges in his bouncy seat on the floor – these quiet parts are some of the most important parts.
As the water runs back to the earth outside the window, I remind myself to embrace the season – to cherish these days that the older, wiser mothers tell me will go so fast. Why doesn’t it feel fast at 4 a.m. when I have yet to find sleep?
And then it descends upon me like the pattering of soul-cleansing sky falling:
Don’t overlook the most important part of your calling.
These words come like breath from heaven, and something stirs within me.
Living present to every moment, embracing teachable opportunities woven into ordinary days, and loving the one in front of me are parts of my life that matter deeply. But so does the part I often overlook. So does the part I often forget.
What if the most important part of any given calling isn’t the process of living it out, but the process of encountering God in the midst of it?
And this is the crux of encountering God in my calling: I’ll fail to encounter God if I fail to live out my calling prayerfully.
I can go through the motions, love others in my own strength, infuse life with sporadic prayers for those I have been called to serve, and do it all relatively well. I can embrace moments and make gratitude lists, and these disciplines are all good. They matter.
But if I overlook the importance of focused prayer as I pour out my life, I might just miss the most important part of my calling.
I’ve grown savvy at on-the-go prayers for help, wisdom, focus, and Holy Spirit power. I’ve been learning to live on two levels: one attuned to the voice of the Father and one engaged with the world around me. But one thing I lack: time set apart to pray with fervent focus for those within my sphere of influence.
It’s the mother who makes sure to pray for her children every single day. She buys a journaling Bible and writes Spirit-led prayers in the margins of every page for each of her children. She does the work of praying over the present struggles and the future ministries. She prays for breakthrough for her teenagers, God-encounters for her grown children, or the future of her newborn.
It’s the teacher who comes to the classroom ten minutes early every morning to pray over the seats that will soon be filled by young bodies. She prays for faces and names as they come to mind. She breaks down walls and prays for the opening of the gates of heaven.
It’s the public servant who prays for the people who will walk through her aisle, sit at her table, pass by her desk, or sit across the little office with the framed photos on the walls. She prays for the anointing of the Lord, the movement of the Spirit of freedom, and encounters with Jesus in this space where she has been called to serve.
It’s the wife who won’t give up praying for her cantankerous husband, even though he shows no interest in the things of God.
It’s the daughter who won’t give up praying for her parents to encounter the love and grace of Christ.
It’s the friend who keeps reaching out, who won’t stop praying for that childhood friend who is lost and searching.
I ask myself as the rain streams down: Are you really laboring in prayer for those you are called to love?
Or are you overlooking the most important part of your calling?
Because praying for the people God has placed in your path breaks captives free. It breaks up fallow ground. It makes a way in the wilderness – streams in the desert.
I commit to be a woman of passionate prayer for my children as the little one sleeps and heaven pours down all around me. Ultimately, this kind of prayer holds the power to change lives, and my life will be changed as well.
As I encounter the heart of the Father for my kids, I come to know him more. I carry his love upon me in a more evident way. And with the rain on a humid summer day, the gates of heaven might just open wide.
If you would like more resources on how to pray deliberately for those within your sphere of influence, click here for a free resource on intentional intercessory prayer: Change Your World through Prayer.