Chores and more

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Ephesians 6:18a. AMP Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.

Years ago, Mother told me she used to pray for my future husband while she was ironing my clothes. She didn’t like ironing and chose to use that time to pray instead of getting frustrated or fussing. (Those little girl dresses with their many ruffles, pleats, puffed sleeves, and smocking used to about put her over the top.) Her prayers were answered nearly twenty years later when I married the most wonderful man who loves Jesus and his family so very well. (The fact that he’s patiently and faithfully put up with me for thirty-two years now is hard data indicating the intensity of Mother’s prayers for him.)

I’ve never forgotten that story nor stopped thanking God for my husband and my parents. (Daddy is also a praying man, but that’s a story for another blog post.) I tried to do the same with prayer for my sons while doing their ironing. And hallelujah! We have already evidence of answered prayers with our one daughter-in-law who is both delightful and devoted to Jesus and family. (Don’t even get me started talking about the grandbaby girl unless you’re ready for an entire book to read, not just a blog post!)

In fact, this soil scientist dislikes housework so much that I’ve had to adopt this practice of prayer for pretty much every common chore. A sink full of dishes equals God getting an earful from me about students and sons, friends and family. Overflowing laundry baskets translate to a steady stream of sorting out frustrations that no one else but God need know about. Dusting is vigorously fighting back against temptation, with words and feathers a-flying. Sweeping or mopping is an all-out Olympic sport designed to get into the corners of my kitchen and my heart with confession and change. And ironing is an active and deliberate removal of wrinkles and addition of praise and petition for the many in need of new mercies and more.

Needless to say, I don’t do these chores as frequently or as thoroughly as I should – as evidenced by the status of my home and heart. It’s not enough to use my hands; my heart must be invested, both in purpose and in prayer. Scripture tells me to pray continually and that’s not just a good thought, that’s a much-needed task for my protection and potential (Philippians 4:6-7). All too often, I look around my home and get frustrated with its continual creep towards disorder in dirt and dust. Not often enough, I look around my heart and am frustrated with its continual creep towards defeat in denial of and detachment from my Good God.

Prayer returns me to the God Who made me.

Prayer renews me in relationships with God and people.

Prayer revives me for the work set before me by God.

Someone once said, “prayer is the greater work”. And that’s a truth worth repeating to my mind and heart with every day and every chore. Because prayer isn’t just a job for me; it’s an opportunity to join with my Good God in the good work He has planned for now and the not-yet.

Before you start thinking “oh, I could never pray like that” or something like that…please know that this habit of prayer has come out of my desperation for receiving God’s help for this minute and then again, the next. Scripture tells me I can’t do anything by myself. Yet Scripture also tells me that nothing (including the work of prayer) is impossible with Christ at work in and through me (see Philippians 4:13). And truths like that compel me to pray even harder with this chore and the next and to pray in even more faith with this breath and the next.

Colossians 4:2 WE Always take time to talk to God. Put your mind on what you are saying. And thank God for what he has done.  

Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2023.

Please like and share this post so others might be encouraged to find a new way to work and to pray. We must pray for each other as we pray for ourselves.

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Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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