praying for purity

The house is finally quiet for a bit. My husband took the day away from working so he could spend it with the children. Right after family worship this morning they bundled up and headed out to play in the snow. Well, the ones who were here anyway. We currently have one at college, one working full-time, one working part-time and one volunteering a few hours 3 days a week.

The house is emptying and yet things have never seemed so busy.

I got up this morning at about 4:15. Things are dark and peaceful then. My mind can release its stress at that hour better than at any other. I usually light a candle or lantern or sometimes I turn on the small lamp given to us by one of the couples the 16 year old works for. I want just enough light so I can read and journal but not so much light that I can actually see what’s around me well.

Because I don’t want to see any dust or areas that have accumulated clutter. That’s for the rest of the day. Those early morning hours are mine and they’re just about all I get in a day. The smaller children begin to rise around 7, although I have the occasional early bird looking to have mama all to themselves. This means, on a good day, I have 2-3 hours of quiet before the hustle hits. I have time to be on my knees and time to study without feeling rushed or having to answer questions or get bandaids or settle disputes. I have time to be a daughter before I’m called to be a wife or mother.

And it’s literally the only way I survive.

This morning I recalled something I read not long ago about coming before God to plead for purity of soul. The passage encouraged the idea of pleading for it as you would for your life if it were at risk and to remain in prayer until the Spirit had filled you with such an overwhelming longing for Christ that the world lost its hold on you.

And so I decided I’d do exactly that.

I wasn’t sure how and it felt a little stiff because I’m used to getting on my knees and praying over my children or husband, always being careful to cover my worries and concerns and wants. This was a totally different idea. I didn’t ask for anything besides purity of soul. Every time my mind started to rehearse my usual requests, like for money enough to close out the month or patience with the most challenging of my children or my older kids to be firm in their faith, I stopped myself and asked God to simply give me purity of soul. I asked Him to help me desire it above all else. And I asked Him to use that purity to infect my family. I prayed and prayed and prayed, basically the same prayer but from various aspects as I kept bringing my mind back around. It was definitely an exercise in self-control to lead my thoughts in prayer rather than having them lead me, but suddenly I experienced an overwhelming sense of truth in a way I’d never seen it before.

I always pray for patience. I pray for kind words in the face of busy days and errant children. I pray for God to make ME more like Him. But suddenly I began to understand that He’s actually just asking me to make room for HIM. To be so uncluttered of the world, so emptied of self, selfishness and worldly ambition, that I have room for the Spirit to fill me. More of Him and less of me, isn’t that how it goes? Not usually, to be honest. I focus on the me. I focus on me being good like Him instead of realizing that’s a literal impossibility unless He has room to fill and dwell within me. And when this happens, it is His goodness being lived out through me, rather than my goodness being extracted from Him.

Why do I complicate things so??

It’s so simple and it’s exactly what my family needs anyway. A mother (and a wife) who is so bent on emptying the world from her heart that she doesn’t have time to rehearse her grievances before a holy God or to get tripped up by the annoyance of daily living.

Imagine the work He could accomplish through us if we were simply sold out to praying for the purity of our soul. It’s a prayer He will absolutely answer every single day and the results would be world-changing.

I’m reminding myself of that as this day unfolds, with all it’s melting snow and soggy clothes and puddled floors. And I’m reminding myself again, when every new childhood challenge barges onto the scene for me to attend to.

If I’m first praying for purity of soul, the rest will fall into place.

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