A few weeks ago my 9-year old daughter walked home from school without her new winter jacket. Apparently she had taken it off at recess and then forgotten to go back to pick it up when it was time to go inside. When she did remember to return for it, it had disappeared. For two days she searched the playground and the lost-and-found with no results. Being the younger sister, most of my 9-year old’s coats are hand-me-downs from big sis. But much to our dismay, this was her one new jacket that had been solely purchased for her. So when we sat down to have breakfast, I said, “Let’s pray and ask God to help you find your coat today. And let’s thank Him that even if you don’t find it, you still have another coat to wear.”
At the end of the school day, I walked down our street to find a beaming girl wearing her cute purple jacket. “The janitor found it in the ball box!” my daughter exclaimed. “Remember . . . we prayed for this at breakfast. God answered our prayer!”
I share this story as an illustration of what the majority of my prayers look like throughout the day. I wish I could say I have lengthy private prayer sessions early in the morning, but with four kids running in four different directions, uninterrupted prayer times are rare. In between multiple school runs, playing with my preschooler, doing endless piles of laundry, and cleaning up the kitchen for what seems like the eighth time, long moments of solitude are not easy to come by.
In the Christian life, prayer is essential. Prayer demonstrates our dependence on God. It reminds us that we’re not in control of our life and there is One who deserves all glory and praise. Prayer lifts our eyes off of ourselves and reminds us of our heavenly hope. So how do we as busy moms find time to pray? Where do we carve out time to spend in conversation with the Lord when there is always someone (or something) needing our attention?
Here are a few simple practices I’ve found helpful in my own prayer life . . .
1. Weave prayer into your daily rhythm of life.
When your child is anxious about his or her test, or you’ve lost your keys, or the sun comes out after days of clouds, take a minute to lift your praise or supplication to the Lord. I want my children to realize prayer is not just for Sunday morning and meal times, but something we can do at anytime of the day. I often tell them, “We can pray for anything and at anytime!” as we lift up a request for a parking spot at the crowded mall. First Thessalonians 5:16–17 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray continually . . . ”
2. Pray Scripture.
As you work on your Bible study, or read a portion of Scripture, take a few minutes to turn what you’re reading into prayers. Yesterday I was reading Psalm 1 and realized what a great prayer it was for the new year. “Lord, keep me from the way of the wicked. May my delight be in your Word. Let me be a tree planted by streams of water that yields much fruit and does not wither in desert times.” The Word of the Lord reveals his will for our lives. What better way to pray than to make Scripture the cry of our hearts!
3. Create a prayer plan.
This is something I’ve done off and on for years. At the start of the year, I write out a plan of who and what to pray for each day of the week. The circle starts with my own heart and then extends outward to immediate family, extended family, friends, church, neighbors, missionaries, and more. Having a specific day to pray for various people makes it seem less daunting. I’ve tried using both a journal and a prayer app (Prayermate) on my phone. This year I’m returning to good old pencil and paper as I find my phone too distracting. Grab your journal (or phone if you use an app) when you know you’ll be sitting in a waiting room or carpool line. And on rare quiet mornings, use it as a supplement to your Bible study.
4. Pray while in motion—driving, walking, or exercising.
One of the best times for me to have a few quiet moments of solitude is when I’m driving alone. I confess that sometimes I like to blare the 80s music instead, but praying while driving to pick up the kids or on my way to an appointment can be a great time to connect with the Lord. Prayer walking is another favorite practice of mine when I’m trying to squeeze in some exercise on the same day. (Tip: to avoid having your neighbors think your crazy, put on your earbuds so it looks like you’re talking on the phone!)
Although we likely don’t have oodles of time to spend in undistracted prayer, being creative with our days can provide more opportunities than we realize to commune with God. How can you find time to pray today?