Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ways to find more time for prayer (even as a mom of young children)

With today being the National Day of Prayer, I thought it would be fitting to focus on finding time to pray more (even if you find yourself in the season of life where a "sweet hour of prayer" seems about as elusive as a sweet hour of sleep).

I just don't have time to pray.  Whether you have said it out loud or thought it - we’ve all been there.  Some days you are just happy that you got a shower much less achieving those visions you have of yourself watching the sun rise and reading your Bible while your house is still silent.  Ha.  In the world I live in, I can’t even use the bathroom without hearing those little fists pounding on the door “mama, are you in there.”  Why is it that on the morning you decide to get up early, everyone else seems to have had the same idea?

My goal is not to heap guilt on you. . .most of us have done enough of that all on our own.  We want to be women of prayer.  We look into those little eyes everyday and feel the necessity of being on our knees continually for those lives still only in fledgeling form.  But as a young mom, the moments sometimes creep by, but the days, months, and years fly.  And soon our good intentions are forgotten and regret replaces it.

So I have been thinking recently of some easy ways to fit more prayer time into my life.  Let me just say first of all, that as much as is humanly possible (remember God knows our current season of life) we NEED that private time alone, with God, where there is nothing else to occupy us but the “beauty of His holiness.”  Having said that, some of us will wait for that perfect “Thomas Kincaid” moment, never find it and just totally neglect prayer altogether (mealtime prayers excluded).  I don’t know about you, but I find that I need baby steps.  Find just 5 minutes a day to pray?  Hey, I can do that.  And the more we do, the more we will want to, and the more we want to, the more time we will “find” to engage in time in prayer with our Father, “Abba,” who longs to draw us into a more intimate walk with Himself.

Consider a familiar verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing

and also Colossians 4:2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

We need to be Christ-followers who are communing in prayer with our Father throughout the day.  Some would call this an attitude of prayerfulness.  Can I just say how hard this is today with all the things that are constantly clamoring for our attention!  Seriously, we have stuff to do and checklists to prove it (now if we can just find that checklist.)  I find that I need to be reminded to continually bring my praise and my prayer requests before the Father or else my mind will fall into worry.  Instead of resting, I am planning.  Instead of trusting, I am analyzing.  Instead of bringing my praise and prayer requests to God, I am griping about the way I think my life should be going.

So here are a few ideas I came up with.  I like to come up with times to pray and assign that particular time a prayer focus.  It sort of makes it a little more manageable for me.  I hope this is a blessing to you and that you find one or two that help. 

  • Pray while you shower.  Now if you are one of those lucky moms who starts the day off with a shower, what better time to give the day to God and focus on the day ahead to be used for His glory.  But no matter what time of day you fit your shower into your schedule, why not take that as a chance to bring your life into focus of what He has done for you?  The cross of Christ changes everything and our lives should reflect that!
  • Pray while you do the mundane things.  We all have those times – changing diapers, making the bed, washing the dishes, and the list goes on and on.  I have recently been impressed with the idea of praying a blessing over our children, out loud.  You may think this idea a bit crazy but consider the impact of this on the hearts of your little one.  They may never remember mommy praying for them while changing their diaper, but it will instill a pattern in your heart that will feel more natural to you as they grow older.  Maybe praying out loud is not your thing - you can still choose one of those tasks that you do everyday to be a time to pray for your marriage, your children, or maybe your dear friend going through cancer.  How much concentration do we need to fill or unload that dishwasher?  Maybe you work outside the home and have a time in the day where you can pray while you work.  Or maybe you can use your commute as a time to pray (without your eyes closed of course).  Ask God to help you find those times in the day that work for you.  You may be surprised what you come up with.
  • Pray with your children at meals and at bedtime.  You may be thinking this is obvious, but I challenge you to make the most of these times.   I often have to remind myself that even though I am praying a simple prayer in front of my children, I am still praying!  This is time before the God of all the universe and it ought not to be taken lightly.  And in time, your children will remember whether mommy just repeated the same thoughtless prayer every day or if she really talked to God.
  •  Praise Him when you check the mail.  I love checking the mail.  I get a few seconds outside and it is a great chance to praise the Creator for His beautiful creation.  Use it as a time to offer Him a quick prayer of thanksgiving!
I hope that you found something that will be helpful to you.  Maybe you have some ideas of your own.  Leave a comment below so others can benefit!

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