There is a lot of prayer involved in parenting.
Please, God, let him fall back asleep because it is 3am, and I don’t want to get up again.
Please, God, help him entertain himself for five minutes so I can shower.
Please, God, let him not wake up from that spoon that I just dropped in the kitchen.
Please, God, do not let him bang his head on the wall before I can get to the other side of the room to pick him up.
Please, God, help him stop crying for ten minutes so that I can make dinner.
Please, God, do not let that person with the cold touch my son’s hand.
Please, God, do not let him tugging on his ear mean that he as another ear infection.
Admittedly, many of these prayers are not always me sincerely asking for God’s assistance, but rather a very tired mother learning to function with a baby in her life. I am sure God has heard these prayers numerous times in many languages as sleep-deprived mothers and fathers across all of time have looked to the heavens and muttered similar words.
Last week, after reading several books with him, I put a drowsy Mark into his crib. Immediately, his eyes perked up, he looked directly at me, and he squealed loudly with a huge grin on his face. It was as if he was saying, “Hah! And you thought I was tired!” Much to my frustration, he then proceeded to practice his newly acquired scooting skills across the crib, periodically rolling onto his side to look at me and giggle.
Please, God, help this child get to sleep.
This saga continued for a pretty extended period of time. As we approached what would be his next meal, I finally got desperate and picked him up. While I swayed with him around the room, I found myself singing a different song than the one I typically sing when putting him to sleep.
The song is one of my favorites, and I have strong memories associated with it. I can recall two different retreats that I volunteered with in college in which friends of mine played the song during pivotal moments. Both times, I remember looking around as many of my dearest friends were singing and serving the youth of our church all at the same time. In those moments, I felt pure joy and was at peace.
I knew that I would want to take myself back to those moments to help me move through the most difficult moment of my life. That is why I requested for that song to be played at Isabelle’s funeral. Before the service began, a beautiful instrumental version of the song was played.
So when the song just came out of my mouth that afternoon while rocking Mark, it caught me a little off guard. It took me a minute to realize that it was my heart genuinely praying in that moment. I found myself, not just asking God to help Mark sleep, but also to help him grow up to be a faithful man. I prayed that he would have the opportunity to experience moments of true peace and joy. I prayed that God would protect him and guide him. And I thanked God for the gift that I was holding in my arms.
When I eventually looked down again, Mark was fast asleep.