To see the first part of this post in video form click here, but be sure to come back for the bonus features below. 😉
Why don’t we pray as much as we want to?
For many of us, the answer is that we don’t have time OR we just don’t think about it, especially when the day starts charging ahead. I can remember for a long time starting my day super inspired to “spend the day” with the Lord, only to fall into bed at night thinking “what happened?”
My intentions and I bet yours too, are always good, but life seems to get in the way.
I love a quote Jess Connolly shares, “The argument that you might not have time to pray is just a little silly because you have your entire day.”
It’s so matter-of-fact and even childlike, like when a kid says something profound that all our adulting has clouded out.
What is really stopping us from praying in our day when we can literally do it at any time?
Today, I thought I’d show you how possible it is to spend time with the Lord in multiple ways throughout your day. This is not a checklist to complete by the time you hop into bed at night. This is an exploratory list of ideas to make us aware of opportunities that might go unseen otherwise!!
And no surprise, all of these include how to incorporate your prayer journal because having things written and ready for us is so helpful to jump into prayer throughout the day without needing a silence chamber and two hours.
My first 6 months of using our journal changed my life and I only recently noticed when I was flipping through it again that I barely filled out the first month. You might even skip a month. Tear it out if a blank page will haunt you and know that you don’t need to follow all the steps or fill out all the lines or even use every day for it to create a habit of consistent prayer in your life.
My prayer routine has changed a bit since I first started using our prayer journal 6 years ago. Here’s my current routine and some other helpful tips depending on what season you may be in.
Each night I set out my tray for my morning quiet time. Here’s a peek at what’s included. Or see it in the video below.
I start my morning with 3 gratitudes. If you have our Yearly Prayer Journal, you can find a whole Gratitude Section. I just shared how I’ve gotten out of the habit of this and it has definitely affected me. I’m getting back to it and I love starting with gratitude because it eases my groggy brain into my time with the Lord.
I usually read my Bible and follow it up with prayer time. Right now I pray one prayer journal page a day. If you are just starting out, I highly recommend just praying through only one prompt at a time until it becomes a consistent habit or starting with what James Clear calls the “2 minute rule”. Just commit to 2 minutes and get the habit set and THEN increase the time. Creating a habit, even really small can generally change our prayer lives more than longer but random prayer sessions.
A few times a week I’ll write out my prayers in the Conversations Section of my Yearly Prayer Journal. I normally incorporate the ACTS (or ACST) method and start with Adoration, Confession, Supplication, and Thanksgiving. We actually have two pages in the Compose Journal (6-month) and Yearly Prayer Journal with guiding questions and verses to help flesh out each section.
I have written in my planner which section I’m praying through that day so even when my journal is not with me, I can reflect back. A few days into the month you’ll notice you can picture what’s on the page and recall many things if you don’t have the journal right in front of you.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY
After my quiet time, I set my journal up on a little recipe holder that sits in our dining/living area. I turn it either to the Scripture page or the page I’m praying through that day. Some days, it goes unnoticed but I like to have it out because it gives me more reminders to pray.
Sometimes I take my journal in the car with me and meditate on Scripture. If not, it’s usually on the recipe holder.
In the evenings, I’ll sometimes sit on the floor doing stretches with my journal or prop it up on the spigots during my nightly bath. Then it goes back on my tray which I set out the night before, ready for my morning time.
While you workout - One user brings hers to pilates, gets the spot by the window and sets her journal up so she can pray during class. Others bring theirs on the elliptical! I love to stretch with mine out. I feel so refreshed physically and mentally after.
While cooking - I prop mine up on my window sill while I’m chopping veggies or waiting for water to boil.
While doing laundry - Set your dryer as you pull clothes to hang up or lay it next to you on the living room floor as you fold.
While getting ready - I always sit on our bedroom floor in front of our floor-length mirror to straighten my hair. Or set it on my bathroom counter while I blow dry my hair.
While working - Keep it out on your desk during work to help keep you focused on what matters most. Pray for coworkers, wisdom, creativity for projects and more.
While at church - A lot of people who are big journalers like to write prayers in another notebook and use the Conversations Section of the Yearly Prayer Journal for sermon notes.
Middle of the night - So this will likely sound weird but there was a season when Tyler and I were on vacation and had a king-size bed. I slept with my journal next to me and noticed each time I would stir in the night, I’d be prompted to pray. It felt like an ongoing conversation and drew me back to prayer more than I’ve ever done before as I slept. I think we have to be careful not to make it about the journal and keep the focus on God which is why I don’t do this much (and the queen bed thing) but if you have trouble sleeping put your journal on your bed next to you or on your nightstand and flip it to the Scripture page. Turn to it if you wake up panicked or fearful or just frustrated you can’t sleep, or the baby won’t.
OPPORTUNITIES WITH KIDS
The morning calm - when kids are playing quietly, even if it lasts just a few moments, walk to the counter where you have it propped up and maybe even throw in a few squats or lunges if you want. My girls have a sixth sense when I pick up a phone or iPad but if I’m just looking at my notebook, they keep playing.
First 5 minutes of nap time - You might have a million things to do, and if you work from home and this is the only time you can pull out your laptop, it can be tempting to dive right into work and even see this prayer time as a waste, but doing this has always been super life-giving and helps focus my heart on what’s important.
Carpool lane - This is easiest without extra kids in the back seat but when I had Vana with me to pick up Vivi, I’d pass a snack back to her or a book and buy myself a few uninterrupted moments.
While nursing a baby - I didn’t expect my prayer life to grow as much as it did when I had kids but using one nursing session a day to pray made such a big difference. I didn’t put pressure on myself to do this all 8 sessions but just one and it was so doable and still gave me plenty of time to read books and even check Insta.
Propped on the stroller - This one was one of the biggest ways I used my journal in the early years with Vivi. If your baby is happiest in their stroller, head out for a morning or evening walk and set your prayer journal on the covering for a surprisingly focused prayer time.
I hope this helps get some ideas flowing and inspire you! Prayer can happen anywhere at any time. If you are afraid of buying another product you won’t use, I totally get it! You don’t need another journal that sits empty on your shelf. You need a tool that can easily fit in your everyday life. We’ve done so much to make this the journal for you keeping it simple and structured with lots of white space and a no-fail approach.
So here’s my question for you:
What could you cover in prayer by making the most of only a handful of these opportunities?
How much extra time could you spend with the Father focused and not drifting off because you aren’t sure what to say?
If you’re ready to dive into prayer in a deeper way, we'd love for you to pre-order one of our 2020 Yearly Prayer Journals beginning August 13!
WANT TO BE REMINDED WHEN YEARLY PRE-ORDERS START? SIGN UP BELOW.
(they’ll be at the best price of the whole year during our 2-week launch)