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We all know prayer is essential to our relationship with God, but let’s be honest. It can be darn near impossible to make the time for it! Let me give you a scenario:
It’s been a crazy day! Baby is teething, crying all day long, you had to reheat your coffee at least 26 times and still drank it cold, husband has to work overtime, and you have to eat takeout for the second time this week because you forgot to make dinner! Finally, your baby is asleep, and you’re about to turn in for the night when you remember…
“I haven’t prayed once today!!”
So you sit on the bed, put your hands together, take a deep breath and say….
And now you’re asleep.
PLEASE tell me I am NOT the only one that has happened to!
Life happens! Things get busy! We have obligations, jobs, and families to keep up with, and even with the best of intentions it can be so hard to find genuine quality prayer time with the Lord. Sure, some people might waste precious time with distractions, but for moms, the things taking up their time are not things they can forget about. You have to take care of your children, take care of the house, go to your job, say some words to your spouse, and maybe speak to a few other people too! You basically have 10 jobs!!
You’re not bad with your time, you actually don’t have any!
I struggled as a new mom with balancing my new demanding reality with my spiritual life. Every single night I would go to bed and realized that I didn’t read the Bible or pray. I was so disappointed in my walk with the Lord, and it showed in many other areas of my life. At some point, I finally said enough is enough!
I can’t change what my life looks like. I can’t add hours to my day, so I need to make the time I have meaningful.
Instead of spinning my wheels, trying to eliminate distractions even though I was already at the bare minimum of distraction, I decided to get creative.
These 5 prayer tips are tips I have used personally. No, I don’t use them all at the same time, and some days I just go with the flow in prayer, but when life is at its most chaotic, I go back to these tips to keep myself grounded in a positive prayer life. Here are my 5 Prayer Tips When You Don’t Have Time:
1- Break it up throughout the day
I’m sure when you were a young single lady, finding hours to do anything was easy! When I was a teenager just learning about the Lord, I had no issues chiseling out at LEAST a half hour with the Lord. It’s not like I had much else to do!
Now as a mom, you’re probably grateful for a trip to the bathroom by yourself! So asking you to make an entire hour to pray may be too much to ask. But who says your prayer time has to be only ONE time?
My pastor just did an online lesson that really surprised me. He talked about how he prays 3 times a day. When he initially said that, I was like “well of course you can pray 3 times a day! You are a pastor. That’s literally what you do for a living!” But as he went into his daily prayer times, he said that neither of his prayer times are very long. He said that most of the time, his prayers aren’t much more than a half hour. Yes, that’s still about an hour and a half a day, which seems impossible to the mom who barely has time to finish their warm coffee.
Putting time limits aside, breaking up your prayer time throughout the day makes it much less overwhelming. It’s also a great way to keep your mind focused on the Lord, as opposed to having one huge chunk of time and getting distracted halfway through.
Don’t get caught up on the length of time you spend in prayer initially. Even just 10 minutes a couple times a day is better than nothing!
2- Keep a prayer journal
Distractions are REAL! And having a tool to keep your mind straight while in prayer can be very useful.
Have you ever had a friend or a family member ask you to pray for them, but then completely forgot about it? I know, sounds like an awful thing to do, but you can’t help forgetting. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t important to you, just that you were distracted by everything else in life.
I find that writing down what I need to pray about gives me more focus. It helps me remember exactly what I need to pray about, and keeps me from veering off from prayer into scrolling on social media.
You can use anything as a prayer journal. You can use your phone notes, or a plain notebook, or if you’re extra fancy, you can buy a prayer journal. Whatever method works the best for you!
If you find yourself forgetting what it is you need to pray about, then maybe keeping a prayer journal is the best idea for you!
3- Make it a family affair
If family obligations are keeping you from finding time with Jesus, then maybe the solution is to include the family!
Yes, sometimes I pray while my 15 month old plays! I want my son to grow up seeing and listening to me pray. I’m not ignoring my son when I do that. I’m leading by example when I pray in front of my son! I pray one day my son will talk about his memories of watching me pray.
My son can’t exactly “pray” with me, but maybe your children can! This might mean that you need to teach them a little bit about prayer, or maybe simplify it a bit for them, but what matters is the conversation with God. Not necessarily the process of prayer, but the purpose.
I have never known a person who has regretted teaching their children to pray. If anything, this is the single best thing you can teach your children!
It probably will be easier said than done initially, but once you establish a routine it’ll get easier!
Do you pray with your kids? Let me know in the comments what works for you when you pray with your family!
4- Find a prayer model that works for you
Sometimes you need to go into prayer with a plan. Moms are constantly distracted, whether its a baby who woke up earlier than expected, catching your teenager eating you out of the house in the middle of the night, or remembering a chore that has to be completed. With all of that on your plate, an organization to your prayer can be exactly what you need.
The most well-known prayer model was demonstrated by Jesus himself, which is The Lord’s Prayer. Most people simply recite The Lord’s Prayer as it is, but I think the Lord’s prayer is more of an organizational tool. Let me explain quickly:
Our Father in Heaven,
- Hallowed be your name– Praise God and have a time of thanksgiving
- Your Kingdom come – Commit yourself to the Lord.
- Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven – Pray for other people’s needs
- Give us this day our daily bread– Pray for yourself
- And forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone indebted to us– Ask the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins, as well as help to forgive anyone who has wronged you
- And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one– Pray for deliverance of anything binding you, or empowerment in the things you feel weak at.
- For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever – End with praise again, and leave time for meditation (which is when we listen to what God has to say).
The Lord’s Prayer is an excellent guide on how to pray. Below I have a visual for another prayer tool that I love and personally use.
Another very popular prayer model is using the hand visual. I’ve included a picture to help explain this model more effectively. Side note: This is also a really good prayer model to teach kids!!
These guides can help even the most distracted person stay on task when praying. Give them a shot!
Related: 10 Scriptures To Overcome Anxiety
5- Don’t get stuck in time
At the end of the day, sometimes 5 minutes really is all you got! If that is the case, some prayer is better than none!
I’m not sure if it’s just people trying to be overachievers, or it’s just a lack of understanding of God’s perfect love, but I think Christians are afraid of doing too little for God. That includes prayer. I’ve talked with so many people who have been disappointed in their prayer life because of one problem. They don’t feel like they’re praying enough!
It’s normal to feel that way. I think feeling that way shows just how much you love the Lord. If you find yourself concerned about your prayer life, then don’t think that’s a knock on your relationship with the Lord. Just the fact that you want more is a sign that you are spiritually healthy!
So my final piece of advice is to not stress about the quantity of prayer time, but focus on the quality of your prayer time.
Think about it. If you were married and spent 24 hours a day with your spouse, but spent all that time playing games on your phone or mindlessly scrolling Instagram, are you really cultivating a good relationship with your spouse?
That’s what a relationship with God can be like for some. They spend LOTS of time in prayer, yet a lot of that is distracted. As a mom, you have LOTS of distractions that you can’t prevent. Sure, you can put your phone down, but sometime’s you can’t put your kid down. So just telling you to cut the distractions can be asking a little too much sometimes.
Imagine instead that you get a whole 30 minutes with your spouse every day, but you make that 30 minutes count. You put the phone down, hold off on the chores, make sure baby is in bed, and you devote those 30 minutes to cultivating a positive relationship with your spouse.
That last one is what God wants with you. He doesn’t need all day, He just need quality time. Whatever you can handle, make it count.
Prayer is worth the little time you may have
I have met some incredible mothers in my lifetime, some of them having VERY large families. Not a single one of them regrets cultivating a positive relationship with the Lord.
As moms, we have to be creative with our time because we know how valuable time is. In your efforts to get creative with your time, I implore you to fit prayer into your days. Prayer will be the key to getting through those tough days ahead. I know from experience that when I made time to pray, those hard days of mothering became easier.
So whatever you gotta do to pray, do it! I promise you, it’ll be worth your efforts.