The whispered prayers of a single mom

Published on March 18, 2022

“God,” I prayed silently as the wheels of my car crept down the gravel road and pulled onto the highway. “I don’t want to ask for anything—I really don’t. You have been good to me and have given me more than I know I deserve. But—if I could just ask You for one small thing—by this time next year, could I not be alone?”

A single tear fell and landed on my cheek and before I made it to Highway 79, I was sobbing and praying and trying to will myself to be OK. 

I had spent a wonderful three days with my family visiting with cousins and extended relatives I hadn’t seen in months. It had been full of laughter and music and hot cocoa, but now that I was headed home to an empty house, the joy of the season was quickly fading and the loneliness I felt was acute. 

My children were with their dad, and I would be spending Christmas night eating frozen pizza in front of the Christmas tree with my dog laying at my feet. It wasn’t the worst way to spend Christmas, but it definitely was not what I wanted.

The heart of prayer

That day came and went and I had no idea it would be my last holiday season as a single mother. 

I didn’t know that it was the last time I would have to set up the tree by myself and watch my favorite holiday movies alone on the couch. It never entered my mind that in less than 12 months my life would once again radically change and God would gift me the blessing of a new marriage. 

Looking back to that day when I was whispering prayers of hope and trying to be grateful in spite of the emptiness I felt, I can only sit in awe. 

Sometimes we pray and pour our hearts out to the Lord, but deep down in the doubting crevices of our inmost being, we wonder if our prayers are getting past the ceiling. 

Maybe we feel as though we don’t deserve any more of his goodness, so we choose not to bring our petitions to the throne. Maybe we just plain doubt God is listening. Or maybe our finite minds can’t see how anything good could ever come from our messy, broken lives so—why pray? 

This is when we need to have an accurate understanding of what prayer is. The book of Hebrews tells us that our unspoken petitions matter to God. The book of First Peter shows us that God wants us to bring him our anxiety and fears. First John reminds us that God listens attentively to our every single prayer. Psalms teaches us that God draws close to us when we are brokenhearted. 

These truths and many more were what I was clinging to by faith that day in my car. My heart was hurting and full of emotion, but ultimately the prayers I prayed that day were born out of a desire to be close to God. 

And that is the heart of prayer.

The purpose of prayer

The ultimate purpose of prayer is not to get temporary relief—although, in the moment that is exactly what we want. The goal of prayer is not to receive some new material or earthly gift—although, we sometimes act like prayer is spiritual retail therapy. 

Today I have a husband, and while marriage has eased the pang of loneliness, his companionship cannot fully satisfy all my longings or meet every single need. 

Whether our prayerful petitions are granted or denied, the purpose of prayer is not so much about us but about God. 

Prayer is turning our eyes heavenward acknowledging that we are needy, desperate people, and Christ is our only hope. 

Prayer was designed to align our will with God’s will, letting go of our kingdom and surrendering our wants. It is turning our eyes from what’s in front of us and looking to Jesus. While God weeps with us when we are grieved, he is not interested in giving us a Band-Aid or a spiritual Tylenol. 

He wants to widen our lens so we can get a glimpse of the deep, wide, and high love that he has for us. God’s desire for our prayers is to change our hearts, not his, and cultivate an unshakable trust in his character whether he grants our petitions or not.

If you find yourself whispering prayers bathed in loneliness, please be encouraged. Your prayers are heard, not ignored. Your tears are collected, not forgotten. Your longings are understood, not unimportant. 

But as you go to the throne, place all your worries and troubles and yearnings at the feet of Jesus and then receive with open hands what he decides to give. You can trust his heart.

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Kristen Lisemby Rosener

Kristen Lisemby Rosener is an author, wife, and mom, with a heart for hurting women and children. Using her own story, she writes with vulnerability and love in order to equip and encourage women to find their strength and joy in Christ. Kristen is the author of Where Joy Is: Finding Joy in the Midst of Suffering, and The Purple Pickle, a series for hurting children. She is a contributing writer for The Better Mom and has been featured in other Gospel centered websites. Kristen blogs at where she tackles issues like depression, motherhood and single parenting, identity, and joy. You can also connect with her via Instagram at @wherejoyis. Kristen resides in central Arkansas with her husband and three children.

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