“I-do, I-do, Ma-ma!”
“Okay, honey, OKAY! You CAN do it, but Mommy will be right here should you need some help.”
“My NO need help, Ma-ma!”
Our son recently entered the I-do phase of growth and development. What he lags in physical ability, he makes up for in enthusiasm. He can do it himself and he doesn’t need any help from me. Message received, little guy! One of his latest I-dos left me meticulously picking up 1000 tiny shards of porcelain after he broke a dish that he just had to clear himself! Despite the extra work he creates for us during all of his “helpfulness”, my husband and I really like seeing him develop more independence. Sure, we could clear the table and wash the dishes faster (and without any breaks!) but we recognize that this new phase of independence from us is ultimately what’s best for him.
The opposite is true for those of us who believe.
For us who wait in Advent, it is in becoming more dependent on God and less dependent on self that is ultimately what’s best for us, and most glorifying to Him. For me as a wife and mother, I’ve found prayer to be one of the most transformative disciplines to both practice and teach dependence on God.
We learn in the Old Testament that God chose the tribe of Levi to serve Him as priests, beginning with Aaron, the older brother of Moses (Exodus 28:1-3). The priests ministered in the tabernacle as mediators between God and man. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place (1 Chronicles 6:49). He entered only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people and for himself (Hebrews 9:7). In Jesus, the perfect and final high priest, we are given direct access to The Father through prayer. In fact, Scripture teaches us that in Christ’s coming, we no longer have need of priestly mediators between God and man.
Most days, I’m praying before my feet hit the ground. Our six-month-old still likes to eat as if he were a newborn, every two hours throughout the night. Before I’m properly caffeinated, the only prayer I’m capable of articulating is simply “Lord, please help. I need You.” Even after coffee, I’m still exhausted. Both boys decide to meltdown simultaneously; I pray aloud. My sons see and they hear. They do not observe some eloquent sonnet spoken softly with a serene smile and closed eyes. No, what they usually observe is a prayer exhaled in frustration, impatience, fatigue, or desperation.
My words are not perfect, nor my attitude, but Jesus is. And something otherworldly happens when we pray. Jesus is there in the very presence of God on our behalf, pleading our case. Each time we are acquitted, not because we’re innocent, but because He is; He who bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) so that we can experience closeness with God in the here and now. We wait in Advent prayerfully drawing close to God, through Jesus, as He draws near to us.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION/ DISCUSSION:
1. Have you ever thought about your access to God in terms of the sacrificial system in the OT? Jesus makes the priest and sacrifices unnecessary by becoming them. How does this contrast make you appreciate prayer more? What does this mean for the times you don't pray because you feel guilty?
2. Imagine a typical day in your life as a mama. Would you say that it is characterized by a posture of dependence on God or self?
3. How can you practically cultivate a life of prayer and take full advantage of the access you have to God through Christ moment by moment?
Samantha Honea is a Family Nurse Practitioner turned Stay-at-Home mom to two bright and busy boys. She’s married to her favorite doctor and together they share a passion for medical missions both at home and abroad. She loves cooking from scratch and using all the spice. Any day that includes a long walk with any of her people is a good day. You can find more of her writing at http://simplemethodprofoundeffect.blogspot.com/ or follow her on instagram @samnphil27