The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
- Soren Kierkegaard
I’m having one of those everything-you-do-will-annoy-me mornings, so watch out.
Okay, so in reality I’m the one who needs to watch out. There are days when there's sin on the horizon, and days like today when it's right in my face, taunting.
Already, at 8:00 a.m., I’ve had to take a deep breath a dozen times and bite back words of irritation. The noise level of my kids, the way my husband chews his toast, the drool of the dog on the carpet–it's all getting massively on my nerves.
I know that the real problem lies in me, not them. I close my eyes and breathe deeply and try to figure out what's up. Not enough sleep? Hormones? Hot weather? When I make no progress on the why I ask myself when. When did this dis-ease start? It wasn't front and center when I awoke.
When turns out to be the golden question. I realize my ire was riled about half an hour ago, and that helps me figure out that what sparked my snarky attitude was something obvious: my husband Andrew said something that got under my skin, and irritation spread through me like a bad rash.
From there I can go back to why. Why did what Andrew say bother me so much? I pray for insight (and get it), pray for Andrew, pray that the hardness in my heart might be softened. And then I am able to go on with the day, a bit humbler, and a lot kinder.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.