How-To #4: How to Find Time for Personal Prayer

As we mentioned in the introduction to our How-To series, we will be sharing a new question each month with suggestions/ideas from sisters from different stages of life and geographical locations. We are not intending to present “one answer” to many of these questions, but instead want to make available a buffet of ideas to help individuals and families “Magnify the LORD” in their lives.

How to find time for personal prayer:

I pray the second I get up. This isn’t new but I thank my Heavenly Father for a new day to live and for a night of rest and to help me in my new day. David was always praising God. When I go outside, and it is sunny I thank God and praise Him. When I go to bed and struggle to sleep, I praise Him and thank Him for being right there in the darkness. In creation, I am always praising Him as his creation speaks to us 24/7.

 

Something that is easy to forget on busy days! I find prayer happens when I stick to a routine each day. Either it is as a longer breakfast prayer or as I am walking to the train to work. I find I must be mentally conscious of making time for prayer and if my routine changes, I endeavor to make sure that prayer still happens.

 

I think prayer occurs anytime, anywhere but mostly at night when a summation of the day occurs.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:”
1 John 5:14

This is an almighty struggle. I need to find a place in a household where and when I don’t get interrupted. Writing things down definitely helps remember the people and troubles you need to pray about and shows you how God has answered your prayers thus reminding us to give thanks unto Him for all his care.

 

For me – first thing in the morning, or else I get going on the day and it doesn’t happen.

Many years ago listening to a series on Prayer by Brother Harry Tennant, I remember him saying, “Now your head at the kitchen sink and dedicate your day to God (as mundane as some days are – doing dishes, changing diapers, etc.).” Serving your family is serving in the LORD – this can be hard to remember when feeling the burden of caring for young children at home.

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”
1 Chronicles 16:11

I find making a SET time each day for personal prayer really helps. I try and offer a short prayer before getting out of bed each day. I then write down prayer requests and pray right after eating lunch.

I also set aside a special snack that I can have after I say my personal prayers!

 

Prayer is much more natural and sincere when I know I am completely on my own. I find going into a room that has a lock on it (bedroom or bathroom even!) Lock the door and spend that time alone with our Heavenly Father. I start every morning with my husband in prayer, but my personal relationship with God is mostly developed through my private prayer time later in the day.

“Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.”
James 5:13

Something I’ve found really helpful is a “prayer walk.” A walk all alone, away from everyone and everything to clear your mind from immediate stresses, and refocus it on God in prayer.

And kind of from the other angle, training the mind to turn thoughts into captives and praying them immediately to God instead of waiting for a time of prayer (when that moment of thankfulness, or praise, or fear, or worry has dissipated).  Not to negate times of prayer because that is biblical, too, but it is helpful for making instant prayer and God-consciousness part of everything…

“Genuine Prayer destroys pride”

Finding time alone to pray (especially as a mum) can be a bit tricky. I find that attaching the habit of prayer to another habit that is already formed is very helpful, for example, when you brush your teeth, have a shower or check the house is locked up at night before bed. Have a trigger (like a note that says “pray”) on your toothbrush (in permanent pen), on the shower screen (on the outside so it doesn’t get wet) or on the inside of the front door to remind you to stop and take the time to pray when you are completing daily tasks.

“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
Psalm 141:2

I’ve found meditating on the Psalms life-changing. I think on them as a guide to my personal prayer, and as a pattern to follow. There’s a prayer for every circumstance in the Psalms. I find myself meditating on the same Psalm for days, weeks, and sometimes months. There’s so much to understand and see once I really look. It reveals my heart.

 

I don’t have one consistent time for prayer. When I was younger I would pray at bedtime but I find I fall asleep before I finish nowadays. So, I find it more helpful to pray and contemplate while washing dishes, ironing, gardening, sewing and especially while walking the dog. I have a Bible app on my phone and find it helps to listen to the Psalms before bed. Finally, I am frequently awake during the night and that is another time when I find prayer time soothing and refreshing.

“What would you have if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

I wake up before everyone in my household and take time for reading and prayer before all the commotion of the day pulls me in every direction.   I made it a personal rule/goal for my self years ago that I wouldn’t check messages on my phone or email or talk to anyone else before I spend time communicating with my Heavenly Father. By recognizing this is the most important relationship I have it provides the foundation for all other relationships to springboard from. I recognize the weakness of my flesh so I challenge myself with personal goals or rules like this one to build habits and consistency that aim to keep my life focused on my greatest hope.  I also end my day in personal prayer, but that has always been easier to carve out that time consistently, where mornings are often the biggest challenges as the pull of the world and the pull of others needs can quickly send our days spiraling without finding time to express praise and thanks for the gift of resurrection to a new day to our Creator and Father.

“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18

As far as prayer time I find my best time for prayer is in the morning. I have two dogs and I get up early with them before the girls are awake and take them for a walk.  I live in the country on a dirt road so it’s usually quiet and peaceful and the best time to talk to God.

 

I find that the only way to ‘find’ time to pray is to have the same routine every day.  So mine is when I wake up and when I go to bed.  Then if something is really troubling me I will pray a few extra times in the day and they are usually only specific requests or a prayer of thanks for some good news that I have just heard about or prayer for a request for encouragement for someone who is sad, and therefore the prayer might be only short.

“Are we using prayer as our steering wheel, or our spare tyre?”

I try to be in constant communion with God and stop and pray often throughout the day. I find this works better for me than trying to save things up until a set time. If there is something/someone I want to pray about, if I can, I stop what I am doing and pray. I try to include praise, thankfulness, and my petitions. Sometimes I include the children if they are with me. Being a busy mum, I try to take any quiet moments that I have to talk to and think about God. Spiritual songs and verses I have committed to memory are another way I commune with a God when I feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to pray. A morning and evening prayer and often middle of the night prayer are more set times that I try to pray as well.

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Philippians 4:6

Finding time for prayer starts with making time.  I have found it helpful to take a look at my days and see where there are constants (that don’t get thrown by weekends!).  Before getting out of bed in the morning and immediately upon getting in bed each night are two things that don’t change each day!  I also find it beneficial to have a purpose to each session’s prayers – e.g. asking for strength in the morning to face the day’s tasks (be specific!), and thanking God in the evening for carrying me through another day.  This helps it feel even more essential to not miss my prayer time.

 

I do it first thing when I wake up. I sit up in bed to help wake myself up and get to it. If I miss it for some reason then I make sure to do it before I go to sleep that night. If it means setting an alarm clock earlier than normal it’s never a strenuous amount of time and always worth it as it sets the tone for the day and starts it off on the right foot.

“Prayer is the key in the morning and the bolt on the door at night.”

Consistently that is the key, isn’t it? Personally, I find the early morning is my best time for prayer. The new day has just begun. Yesterday was yesterday, we have this brand-new day in which to thank our God for all the many blessings, and to ask for guidance and wisdom. All before our feet hit the floor. All-day long we can speak to our Father in short little prayers of thanksgiving.

Other Prayer Ideas

7 Minutes with God – (Idea from Brother Darren Tappouras)

Start:  As SOON as you wake up, before getting out of bed, showering or dressing.

1.       30 seconds – pray a basic prayer to acknowledge God, connect with God and bring Him into your presence; not a performance.  Praise and thanks for His care, requesting help for the day and in loving and serving God.

2.       4 minutes – read 20 verses from the Bible.  Could be from daily readings, something you’re interested in, working your way through Proverbs or Psalms, or even random, open the Bible up anywhere and read 20 verses.  (this doesn’t replace your usual readings, or family time)

3.       30 seconds – pick 1 verse out of the 20 verses that stands out to you and write it on a piece of paper.  Put it somewhere to keep with you through the day (purse, wallet etc), think about it/memorise.

4.       2 minutes – pray a longer prayer this time.  Praise God, tell Him you love Him, confess that you fail and need help, thanks for what He has done for you, pray for someone in need.

Developing the Power of Personal Prayer

Bro. Roger Lewis has a class on “How to Develop the Power of Personal Prayer” – in it he lists ideas to focus our prayers throughout the day. Here is a summary of ideas.

 

 

 

“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon,
will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”
Psalm 55:16-17

 

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