At our recent District Conference (Shanghai International District), an LDS mother in an exellent talk on seeking peace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ opened with her story of attempted prayer. With her kind permission, the story follows:
Several years ago I had a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and 1-year-old. I was praying one morning, and, as was normal, the kids were climbing all over me happily yelling and playing. Most mornings I would ignore it and continue to pray, but on this particular morning, I had just had enough of the noise and craziness. I just wanted a few minutes to pray without also simultaneously being used as a playground! So I stopped in the middle of my prayer and said in exasperation, “Can you just give me a few minutes of peace????” My kids stopped and my 2-year-old looked at me and said in his best tough guy voice, “You wanna piece of me?” Needless to say, my exasperation quickly melted to laughter. I don’t think I even finished my prayer.
I love this story. Apart from its humor and the reminder of how much media can influence us (I think the two-year-old must have picked up that line from Toy Story, is that right?), what I really like is an aspect my wife pointed out that the speaker probably didn’t notice. What really impressed us is that this sister made it a habit to pray even in the midst of noise and the pressing demands of life. Even with kids crawling over her, she would seek a moment for for daily prayer.
Too often we find pressing schedules, changing itineraries, and the rush of life squeeze out quiet moments for prayer, and we zoom through our day running on spiritual empty. That mother reminded me that even things are rushed, noisy, and chaotic, I need to take time for prayer. Distractions are not an excuse. Though a hilarious two-year-old tough guy act can throw any of us for a loop.