When I was younger, I prayed a lot. I would set aside a chunk of time in my day, usually in the evening, and I would get out my list or my notebook, and I would speak long and sincere prayers for my friends and family, for missionaries, ministers, strangers, and world leaders. I would sometimes kneel beside my bed and cry out to God for hurting people. I would always make good on my promise to pray for others when they asked me to. And, at times I would keep detailed notes of what I prayed about and, later, how God had answered my prayers.
Times have changed.
Now I have three children and a pastor husband. I’m a stay-at-home mom. You would think that I would have tons of stretches of uninterrupted prayer time where I can faithfully pray for all of our church members, family, and friends. But, I don’t. The truth is that these days I very rarely sit down with a notebook in my hand, determined to pray for a certain amount of time. But, I do still pray. So, if you’re like me and you’ve found that long, leisurely prayer times are a thing of the past, then I have some suggestions to help you get those prayers in, even during a busy day being a mama.
One thing that I realized a few years ago is that often when people would ask me to pray for them, I would walk away with every intention of doing so. But, by the time I got home, got everyone fed and bathed and got homework done and did all of the other fifty things a mom has to do before she goes to bed, I would often end up forgetting my pledge to pray for my friend. So, I started saying immediate prayers for people. Now every time I tell someone I’ll pray for them, I start praying as soon as the conversation is over. Or, if I’m on social media when the request comes, I’ll stop immediately and pray so that I can honestly tell them that I’m offering up prayers on their behalf. For me, this is a much better system than counting on my overloaded brain to remember to pray later that night.
At a women’s conference a few years ago, one mom offered the suggestion of having prayer zones throughout her house. She had determined that different jobs in the house would be dedicated to prayer for someone in her family. For instance, when she folded laundry she prayed for her daughter. When she washed dishes, she prayed for her husband. It just makes sense to take jobs that we have to do anyway and turn them into times of prayer for our friends and family.
I think sometimes as Christians we trick ourselves into believing that prayer needs to be some kind of event in our lives, as if our prayers are only legitimate when they’re spoken during a specified time frame. But, the Bible instructs us to pray continually (1 Timothy 5:17). Some of the most powerful prayer experiences that I’ve had were actually more just prayers in the moment, talking to God when the heartache is so fresh, praying for a child just because she popped into my head, asking Him to move and work in difficult situations. I believe that our prayer lives will be more vibrant if we think of prayer as an on-going conversation with God, and not a daily ritual. The truth is that every busy mom (or dad) really does have time to pray, even if her prayers are broken up into one hundred sincere requests and items of praise and worship throughout an entire day.
God doesn’t need an hour-long prayer session in order to hear you or speak to you. So, be encouraged, mamas, if your prayer life has seemed somewhat non-existent lately. Just keep loving those babies and doing what you have to do, and talk to God about it as your day goes on, here and there and in between. He hears you. He loves you. And, He doesn’t want long-winded, fancy prayers. Just you. While you wash the dog. Hallelujah and amen.