Ahh...sweet peace. The kids have gone back to school, and finally there is space to clear out the cobwebs in my mind. To be refreshed for their arrival home each day. I love summer, but oh, fall is good too!
If you have known me long, you know that my back to school routine always includes Moms in Touch. These women have kids that go to the same schools as mine, and we meet each week to pray for them and the staff and other students. It is a privilege beyond words.
There are four components of our prayer time each week (described at the link), known as the ACTS model of prayer:
Adoration (praising God for some attribute of who he is)
The greatest challenge for me has always been to get my head around the concept of confession. During our meetings we have a time of silent confession, never spoken. Honestly, when I started in Moms in Touch, when we came to confession, all I could really ever think about was the times I yelled at my kids during the previous week. I would pray to do better. Of course I STILL pray to do better. But pretty soon I started thinking, confession has to be more than this.
And then it occurred to me. Go back to the adoration part. Look at God for who He is--his divinity, or "Godness"--and use him as a mirror.
Let's say the attribute of the week is God's wisdom. We would look at a verse or verses describing the nature of his wisdom. It wouldn't take much reflection to realize that God's understanding is far--infinitely far--beyond our own. When we look at the needs we bring with us as prayer concerns for our children, we quickly see that sometimes we are overwhelmed because we think the solution to each of our parenting challenges must come from our own wisdom and resources, and we are left feeling woefully inadequate. When we look at God's wisdom, my confession sounds something like this:
God, my own wisdom falls short when it comes to this issue we have with ________ about ________. You are her Creator, loving her more than I ever could, and you have the perfect wisdom for helping her through this situation. I confess that I am in need, and you have an abundant supply. Forgive me for trusting in my own wisdom, and for worrying when it didn't seem enough. Only you are enough. Help me to see YOUR wisdom guiding us through like a light in the dark. Help me relax and let you lead us.
MAYBE my confession wouldn't have any words at all! Maybe the image of a light would be enough! Maybe visualizing his wisdom guiding our way, is an adequate expression of my weakness and dependence on his strength.
You see, confession typically boils down to this: acknowledging to God that he is God and I am not. No matter what facet of God's nature provides our focus during the adoration time, it also provides illumination about my nature. Confession gives perspective. I am not him, so I need him. His intent isn't to hand out a punishment, or worse, condemnation. (We may actually deserve that, but it's already taken care of.) It's to help me. But I have to let him.
Our group has a number of women whose commitments prevent them from attending every week. I am hoping this year to post our scriptures and a few reflections at least some of the time. If you are a mom, I hope you will join us and use them as a springboard to pray for your own kids. If you are a mom who might be able to join a group of others who pray (you don't have to pray out loud, but you can!), I urge you to check the Moms in Touch website to see if there is a group for you. It is invariably one of the most treasured hours of my week.