Once a year, my local, Catholic homeschool support group hosts an opening event for all of the member parents. Typically, the evening focuses on offering a welcome to newcomers and apprising all of the paying members of the resources available to them.
While the meeting is mandatory, I’ve never been disappointed by the chance to spend an evening in the company of like-minded individuals.
My turn for a prayer
This year, a good friend of mine was asked to be the group’s prayer leader. Her responsibilities include organizing prayer teams, lining up parishes to offer Masses for the intentions of member families and offering a prayer for the gathering. That’s where I fit into the picture. My beautiful friend shot me a text and asked if I’d find the prayer for this year’s meeting.
Dutifully, I responded, “Yes” and then proceeded to procrastinate in fulfilling my mission.
On the day my friend extended her invitation, all was well in my little home schooling world. God had just answered a BIG prayer, my son was starting up business classes, another son was headed to seminary college and life was generally calm.
I’d planned to search out a prayer of gratitude and figured there was no rush in beginning the search since there certainly are many of those.
Then life changed, as it always does. Arguments erupted, disappointments happened, festering problems reemerged, frustration returned and more desperate prayers filled the void left by the answered ones.
When crunch time hit two days before the big event, my head was in a vastly different place than it had been on the day my friend had first requested my assistance. I was struggling to feel grateful under the weight of my crosses.
That’s when I turned to God and sought out His guidance in the matter. I contemplated what prayer needed to be heard by all of the members of the group, as opposed to what prayer I found to be a reflection of my attitude in the moment. The Prayer of St. Francis began rumbling in my brain.
Now I don’t have a particular devotion to this saint and, honestly, I turn most often to a short list of other powerful intercessors when I’m formulating a conversation with God, but providentially it seemed to be the only prayer in my mind.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,” seemed the proper correction to my mental posture. I was feeling as though my family members were the culprits destroying my sense of tranquility and I was praying they would all be converted through some kind of spiritual correction.
The Prayer for Tired Parents
Inspired by the Spirit’s prompting, I felt called to tailor the prayer so that it resonated all the more with weary and tired parents.
Here is the result that flowed from His stirring:
Lord, make me an instrument of your perfect peace and understanding,
Where there is bickering and whining, let me sow reconciliation.
Where there is hurt and sorrow, let me sow compassion.
Where there is ignorance and misunderstanding, let me sow right reason.
Where there is loneliness and boredom, let me sow inspiration.
Where there is selfishness and idle hands, let me sow generosity.
Where there is rebellion and disrespect, let me sow cooperation.
O Divine Father, grant that as a parent I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we teach our children how to live;
it is in pardoning their faults that we learn to correct our own;
and it is in dying to self that we raise children for Your eternal glory.
St. Francis’ prayer reminded me that I had a role to play in the whole affair. Rather than simply petition God to change them, I needed to beg Him to bless me with the graces to model right behavior.