Join Us on Thursday, at 3 pm! Free Summer Coffee & Chat Session. Why Home Education: Reclaiming a Generation for Christ

Prayer for the Home Educating Mother

Emma Cummings

In all my years of motherhood protecting a time with the Lord to pray and study the Word has been one of the biggest challenges. As a young woman, I saw myself as a Mary, not a Martha; now as a slightly older lady on the other side of 40 Martha resonates deeply with me, and I look enviously at Mary sitting at Christ’s feet as the dishes fill the sink, the baby’s nappy needs changing, the laundry is out of control and these kids need educating. I am certain my life is not dissimilar to so many other women.

Prayer and the Home Education Journey

My own journey as a home educator and mother has been enriched by many of the books by Sally Clarkson. One of the ideas she often touches on is the personal responsibility we have to care for ourselves.

“A WISE WOMAN TAKES CARE OF HER EMOTIONAL HEALTH, her spiritual health, and her intellectual growth.”

― Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love

To build strength and resilience we need to find that place of building a foundation of prayer and nurturing ourselves in the Word. But the question is how!

For Sally Clarkson this looked like sitting every morning for half an hour in her armchair, with her Bible and cup of tea reading and praying. I tried this. My toddlers would not give me peace. The truth is what works for one person will not for everyone. This can be both discouraging and encouraging. It is encouraging, because there is a way that will work for you.

The Importance of Prayer

image of flowers in tea cup

Spiritually, one of the most influential figures in my life has been Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a 17th-century French Monk. He was known in the region he lived as a man who carried the Presence of God. So much so people sought him out for counsel. Despite not holding a great position in the monastery (he was a cook), his writings to others have survived. His message was to be always thinking and praying to God.

“We should fix ourselves firmly in the presence of God by conversing all the time with Him…we should feed our soul with a lofty conception of God and from that derive great joy in being his. We should put life in our faith. We should give ourselves utterly to God in pure abandonment, in temporal and spiritual matters alike, and find contentment in the doing of His will, whether he takes us through sufferings or consolations. ”

― Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence’s example of a man living separate from the world, devoted to prayer, is one I find resonance for the stay at home mother. Many of us have experienced the loneliness of years of raising young children. We know the endless household tasks we have, those myriad of jobs no one sees. Yet the Lord sees. 

It is true Brother Lawrence did not have the interruptions of toddlers, and he was doing maths lessons in between doing dishes and preparing food. However, there is a real opportunity for us as mothers to nurture a prayer life as we chop vegetables, hang out laundry, and do dishes.

Time with God

Yet, for me, I need that depth that comes from being alone with God. For this, I have needed flexibility over the years. At times, it has been in the morning, first thing. At other times it has been when the children have gone to bed at night. There are times I have had older siblings look after younger siblings to facilitate a time alone with God. Sometimes, I have used the opportunity of taking a baby on a walk in order to pray. 

None of us are exclusively a Mary or a Martha: we are in a sense both. We need to be “Marthas”. Did not Jesus exemplify love through service? Yet if we do not find that time to sit at Jesus’ feet and connect intimately with our Saviour, then we will not be able to impart the life of Christ to our children.

Prayer & The Mother’s Heart

As mother’s it is easy to fall into a belief that anytime to ourselves, even in prayer is in some way selfish. When we consider the interaction between Mary and Martha, Martha is essentially accusing Mary of being selfish: she’s enjoying time with Jesus, whilst all the necessary jobs that first-century hospitality in Israel demanded of a woman fell to Martha. Jesus’ response is actually very radical. It frees both Mary and Martha of the cultural burdens placed on them. As mothers and wives we also need to recognise that setting aside an intentional time to spend with Jesus actually an essential part of our lives.

But how? One of the most frustrating aspects of this, for me, is when my intentional planning is thwarted by a young child, repeatedly! So how!

  1. Perseverance! Keep trying. 
  2. Have a look at your day, and find a lull. For you this might be first thing in the morning, or after the children go to bed. Some mothers maintain a nap/quiet time for children after lunch. Schedule a time that works for you.
  3. Don’t be scared to change it up. As your children’s needs change, and their schedules change then you may need to change your time.
  4. Start small. If you have never scheduled a regular time of personal prayer, begin with 5 or 10 mins.
  5. Try praying with a friend. Have a regular time of prayer with a friend. If they have children then the kids can play together whilst the mums pray. This will also fulfil another great need for homeschool mums: fellowship!

Even if you are starting small, do not forget the words of Zechariah:

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” Zechariah 4:10

I believe there are certain things we never regret. We may regret that night spent doom-scrolling Instagram, or binge-watching Netflix. But we will never regret a single moment spent in prayer. This is a place that will enrich us, and will also enrich our homes, marriages, and children.

More Home Education Encouragement

The 4-part series, Wrecked by Thankfulness, is the journey of Arise tutor, Shannan Swindler. It is a story of God’s faithfulness through one of her family’s hardest seasons.

Esther shares her home education journey with 5 children. Her children are now adults, or on the cusp of adulthood. She shares the joys of home education, living overseas, and raising bilingual kids.
Esther is also on the committee of CHESS, the Christian Home Education Support Service. She shares the history of the organisation, and how it helps home educators across the UK. If you are interested in CHESS visit their website.

More From Arise

image of Scottish ladscape on Arise Home Education

Unforgettable Christian Home Education

Join us.

Stay updated