How to Pray All Day When You're Short on Time + Printable
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We are pretty familiar with this verse and it sounds really lovely....be joyful! Pray constantly! Be grateful! These are all great things. But there have been many, many seasons in my life where I have felt like this was literally impossible:
I haven't had a proper nights sleep in years and I was up 9 times last night. I need two cups of coffee before I can even think about being joyful.
I just picked up the house five minutes ago and it already looks like a tornado went through! I am not thankful for these toys.
I have three kids three and under...how on earth am I going to pray all day?
Can you relate?
We are asked about the last idea at many of our speaking engagements: How do I pray more throughout the day? I want to be faithful in prayer, but it's hard to find the time. We came up with an easy idea to help!
Have you heard of the book The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence? It's a Christian classic. Brother Lawrence was a Parisian Monk who spent his days in the kitchen cooking for the other Monks. After his death, many of his letters and journals were found and published. In them, Brother Lawrence wrote about constantly being in the presence of God by maintaining conversation with him throughout his day...even when he was busy cooking in the kitchen. For Brother Lawrence, a successful and meaningful prayer life did not mean setting aside a Holy and separate part of his day to talk to God. It meant bringing God into every moment of his life and making every moment Holy.
Similarly, the author Henri Nouwen said,
“To pray, I think, does not mean to think about God in contrast to thinking about other things, or to spend time with God instead of spending time with other people. Rather, it means to think and live in the presence of God.”
Instead of prayer being something that you do when sitting down at the dinner table or tucking kids into bed at night, think of it as something you can do all the time. But how? Well, we want to challenge your idea of typical prayer. Prayer doesn't have to be fancy, long, formal, or eloquent. It's simply talking to God.
To help form this habit, we created a handy little printable...you can download it here. It has a variety of events that you likely participate in throughout the day and underneath each moment is one very short prayer that you can say. For example:
When you get a snack ready for your kids you could say: "Thank you for the mouths I get to feed every day and the food we have been blessed with."
When you have a kid who got hurt and you're applying a bandaid you could say: "God, thank you for healing our bodies and our hearts."
At bath time you could say: "Thank you that you wash away our sins, create in us a clean heart."
The idea is that you can eventually memorize these short little prayers and use these everyday moments as triggers to help you to remember to be in communication with God. Remember that He doesn't ask for fancy words and He doesn't require us to be in solitude in a quiet space (does that happen as a parent?), He just asks for our hearts.