My mother and I carefully stepped through the field of mossy boulders, checking our footing before we moved on to the next boulder. I paused in my careful navigation to watch my daughter start climbing the rock face, while my heart beat rapidly. She was so high above the ground, and I knew that she was setting the climb up for her less experienced younger sister. The sun was setting, and fear gripped me as I thought of her and her sister navigating the rock face in the evening dusk, of them driving out through the deeply pitted road, and even of trying to help my elderly mom and dad on the return walk through the boulders. My battle to overcome fear and live in peace was detailed in Mothering by the Book, but a stressful Christmas season had created a whirlwind of anxiety that needed some extra help to walk out of. But in the moment, all I could do was breathe deep and pray. And prayer is often all that any of us can do, and the first thing we should do as intentional mothers. We might think it’s our words that matter, or the home we curate, but our faith in God is manifest as we commit our days to him through prayer, and it’s in committing our children to God in prayer that effective change takes place.

In Luke 21:36 Jesus says, “Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accepted worthy to escape all these things that call come to pass and to stand before the Son of man.” We are commanded to pray, even to pray without ceasing because while we may feel that we can maintain control over our destiny and our family, the reality is that control is just an illusion and our true hope is in the love and goodness of God. Prayer is a way of realigning our minds with that truth, with recognizing that God is on the throne and not ourselves. In my book, Habits for a Sacred Home, I highlight praying people, and Saint Benedict is one of those who modeled prayer. In their pursuit of restoration they made prayer a regular practice, meeting several times a day to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. Their minds were fixed on a higher plane which helped them keep calm and carry on even when civilization was falling right outside their front door.

Even with my dedication to daily scripture reading, the truth is that my thoughts are much more formed by my attention to social media, to the daily coming and going of my children, and to the news of the world. My time each day is absorbed by homeschooling, and homemaking, and my work so that the effects of my scripture reading becomes engulfed by the cares of the world. Action is an important part of the Christian walk, we have to care for our families, but we have to pray so we can care for them with clarity and peace. 

Another mom of many understood this balance, this striving for quiet time in the midst of caring for a household. Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland in 1867, the oldest of seven children. As a teen she attended boarding schools until her father died when she was 18. At some point in these years she made the decision to leave her loved ones and become a missionary. She went to India where she spent the rest of her life caring for young girls who had been sold into temple prostitution.

Amy became “Amma” a Hindi word for Mother to these girls who she rescued from temple prostitution, stretching herself far beyond human strength to love these rejected daughters, and prayer was an essential part of her ministry. She knew the danger these girls were in, and yet it wasn’t always within her power to immediately rescue them from their degrading circumstances. In her lifetime she was able to rescue 1000 girls from temple prostitution, but the number represents many more that were lost to her. It represents many prayers that she threw up to God in hopes that he would answer and save these children. We mothers understand this desperation. We love our children, and want the best for them, but sometimes we are just throwing our prayers up to God and hoping that he will save. We don’t own our children, we can’t control their lives, and we must rely on God to move them. Some of you have seen your bright eyed children who were once full of innocence embrace a lifestyle of depravity. Some of you have seen your beautiful babies reject the God you love. Some of you are simply suffering through childhood illness and disability, thankful that your children are close and yet desperate for freedom from suffering. Life is full of hardship, and we can’t control what happens to us. Still we have a God who is in control and who is good, and when we make prayer, especially scripture informed prayer a part of our daily routine we can find rest for our souls and hope for the weary. While Amy was caring for many people and had the option to sideline prayer in favor of active work like feeding children or evangelism she understood the importance of time with God for having the power to obey God and to bring restoration to a culture that was decaying with sin. She understood that living counter-culturally, and pursuit of holiness was putting herself directly in the devil’s firing sights and that the work could not be undertaken without much prayer. She wrote, “The fight to which we have been called is not an easy fight. We are touching the very center of the devil’s power and kingdom, and he hates us intensely and fights hard against us. We have no chance of winning in this fight unless we are disciplined soldiers, utterly out and out uncompromising, and men and women of prayer. So first, give much time to quietness. We have to get our help for the most part direct from our God. We are here to help, not to be helped and we must each one of us learn to walk with God alone and feed on His word so as to be nourished. Don’t only read and pray; listen. And don’t evade the slightest whisper of guidance that comes. God make you very sensitive, and very obedient.”

-Page 17 Candles in the Dark


We are called to a similar fight. The work of restoration, of raising children who love God and who trust in his word is not an easy one. The work of putting down our phones and being quiet with God, of opening our doors and showing hospitality to a stranger, or growing a garden in the midst of chaos and war is the work of warriors and we cannot partake in this work without prayer. We are pushing back against darkness and prayer is our best weapon. And we can pray with hope. Even in the midst of the battle when it feels like all is lost, even when we are walking through what feels like the destruction of our family, or our dreams of family, still we can have hope.


Jennifer Pepito
Excerpt from Habits for a Sacred Home

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop