How to make time to pray

Welcome to our annual prayer series! Each day, we’ll be posting brand-new content to encourage your prayer life. Enjoy and find our prayer journals for 2022 here!

Figuring out how to prioritize prayer feels like a million-dollar question. If we could just find the time…

Prayer is up against a very noisy world. It’s quiet and unassuming, while the rest of our life feels like constant fires and loud noises we have to respond to. If we want to pray consistently, it will require our effort to find pockets of time throughout the day to enjoy an ongoing conversation with the Lord. 

One of the reasons I have loved our prayer journals is that if you do find a few precious minutes in a busy day, you’re able to dive right into prayer! There’s space to prayerfully list out what you’d like to pray for at the beginning of each month based on several categories but there are also spaces for Scripture that can align your heart with God’s as you get started. 

We aren’t demanding our mind, that just two minutes ago was responding to an email or a crying toddler, to miraculously shift gears on its own to pray. Our prayer journals are a sweet and practical on-ramp to prayer time so we can start praying. I cannot tell you how often I have 10-15 minutes to pray and essentially spent the whole time staring at the ceiling trying to remember what I want to pray for or trying to get “in the mindset” of prayer. 

I think sometimes we assume we need hours to pray for us to become like the great prayer warriors in past generations, and don’t get me wrong, if we can do that, that’s great! And I hope we get there as we continue to grow! But we should never underestimate the power of 5 ACTUAL minutes of prayer compared to 10-15 minutes attempting to or thinking about praying. (If you aren’t convinced 5 minutes of prayer could make a difference, listen to this 5-minute prayer for morning each day for a week).

So, these tools I’m sharing below might seem really simple and even like they can’t possibly work, but if you have our prayer journals this will be super helpful to becoming a person who prays without ceasing!

One more thing before we dive in. There might be a root issue for why we can’t make time to pray that needs to be addressed. Maybe prayer doesn’t happen because you aren’t sure it really matters? Have you prayed in the past and felt God say no and now, it just feels like a waste of time? These are internal reasons we don’t make time to pray that this post won’t address, but I did just release a book, Pray Confidently and Consistently, that dives deep into this! We cover 15 weights that might be holding back your prayer life. If you read all the suggestions below and still aren’t able to make time, I’d highly suggest getting the book. 

I love this cheeky quote from Jess Connolly. It’s such a reminder that praying to God can happen anytime and anywhere. 

“The argument that you might not have time to pray with God is just a little silly, because you have your entire day.”

Ok, now here are the tips! Some may overlap but I really wanted to share all the different ways in case one in particular sparks something for you. And if you have other suggestions, add them in the comments! 

Before getting out of bed

Keep your journal on your nightstand so when you wake up, you can stay snuggled in bed for a few minutes longer but still get to pray. 

Before the family wakes up

Before the rest of the house wakes up, have a little quiet time. This is when I write out prayers in my Signature Prayer Journal

During a workout

Prop up your journal on the treadmill or stroller as you go for a walk. We’ve even had journal users take their journal to a workout class and prop it up next to them! 

Getting ready for the day

As you blow-dry your hair or put on makeup, spend those moments in prayer getting the radiating glow of time with our Savior. 

Commute to work

I cannot tell you how many car rides my prayer journal has ridden passenger. Red lights and long drives are the perfect opportunities to lift up prayer requests to the Lord. 

Morning calm

When my kids were younger, there’d be lots of chaos in the morning, usually when I wished I could pray, but it would subside to this odd calm where they’d be playing peacefully, if only for a few minutes. This was always a golden opportunity to pray but more often than not, I’d spend it scrolling my phone “for 5 minutes” and then miss the time completely! If you see your kids playing well, let it be a trigger to grab your journal immediately and get a few minutes of praying in! 

Pre-class/appointment

Make it a point to get to class (or an appointment!) a few minutes early and crack open your journal to pray. And if a friend sees you, what a sweet opportunity to ask if there’s anything you can be praying for them for. 

Nursing or rocking a baby

I shared more specifically about spending time with God AND a newborn in this post, but those long hours spent feeding or comforting your little one are prime moments to turn your thoughts toward Him!

Lately, I’ve been focusing on praying as I rock my son to sleep throughout the day. I pray over him or for myself and my husband in our parenting or for other moms. -Robin H.

The first 5 minutes of naptime

Before diving into housework, client calls or a nap, take a few minutes to pray. When my kids were home, I always wanted to dive into my to-do list because the time I had to work was so small in those early years. Five minutes felt like a lot to give to prayer but every time I chose it, it was always worth it. 

Pre-work setup

As you get out your planner, turn on your computer, put on your apron, or clock in for the day, take a minute to pray for the work before you. Have your prayer journal open on your desk and as you have tasks that don’t require thinking, use it to pray. 

Lunch

Plan one day a week where you bring your journal to lunch, sit under a tree or away from coworkers for a time of prayer. Better yet, fast one day a week from lunch and go for a walk and pray. 

Carpool lane

Get to school early and spend a few minutes before the car is loaded up with kids to pray. This is something I do often and can notice a clear difference when I give this space in between my workday and afternoons with my girls.

After reading Pray Confidently and Consistently I have been adding a “reset” time of prayer before school pick up because it is time when no one is home, I can be more focused and also check that my heart and mind are ready for kids to come home. -Christina S.

While cooking

Prop up your journal on a cookbook stand and pray as you chop ingredients. 

Washing dishes

Start turning chores into holy moments!

Bathtime

Grab a bath tray (like this one) or if your faucet is like mine, you can prop up your journal on the hot and cold knobs and pray as you enjoy an evening soak.   

Pre-bed stretch

Plop down on the floor and spend a few minutes stretching before bed and pray as you do! You can listen to this 4-minute prayer for evening to get started. 

Middle of the night

I used to be really annoyed when I’d wake up in the middle of the night, but now when I can’t sleep, I ask God who I can pray for. A name usually pops into my mind pretty quickly!

Use triggers

I talk in our Fresh Start Devotional about using different things as triggers to pray. Love the example this friend from our VMP Society Facebook group gave.

I was challenged by a pastor years ago to regularly thank God for my salvation. I decided to do it whenever I saw all the same numbers on the clock (e.g. 11:11). I was surprised by how often I would glance at a clock and see all the same numbers. I still use that trigger to prompt that quick prayer of thanks. -Heidi S.

What would you add to this list?? Comment below!

COMING NEXT: 7 reasons prayer feels boring
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