3 Tips to Help You Make Room for Prayer (Lessons from My Summer)
No, this isn’t a back-to-school essay. Well, not exactly. It’s more like a back-to-blog essay. I’ve taken a few months away from this forum.
But not from reading, writing, or praying. Not from thinking. Not from connecting with God and my family. In fact, I’ve learned some things during my time away, and I want to share a few of them with you over the next several posts.
The first concerns a topic several of you have asked about: How do you make room for prayer in the midst of a busy, often-interrupted life?
At home, my days follow a comfortable pattern. This summer, God upended that. We dealt with everything from our son moving cross-country to helping my mom prepare to leave her home of twenty-plus years to the same (and only) son ending up in a California hospital after an accident (he’s much better now, and we’re grateful).
I realize your season of life may include no discernible pattern. But I also realize that a time of chaos calls for even more prayer.
But how do I do it, Marti? How do I make time for prayer when I’m already overloaded? When I’m on vacation? When my kids are sick or someone’s in the hospital? Here are my quick suggestions.
1. Remember that prayer is both a relationship and an activity. Prayer comes from the overflow of a walk with Christ. The only way we can “pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:18) is if prayer is an ongoing part of our lives. Prayer is not just what we do, it’s who we are. This summer, that meant praying on my way to and from Ohio or as we carried boxes out of Mom’s home. It meant tear-stained prayers in the moments after I learned of my son’s accident and purposeful ones as I drove toward the hospital where he lay in Critical Care. It meant prayer where I was, as I needed it.
2. For prayer to reach beyond the chaos or crisis, it must have a firm foundation in God’s Word. Like most of us, I prayed 911 prayers (“Help me pass this test!”) even before I knew Christ. But if the fuel for prayer is God’s Spirit, the foundation is His Word. In order for our prayers to line up with God’s desires, we must know Him. And in order to know Him, we must grow in our knowledge of His Word. That can be as simple as a few verses or as extensive as a full-blown Bible study.
3. Simple is good. When chaos or confusion strikes, we may not have words to pray. That’s why you’ll see prayers scattered here and there on my blog–because sometimes I can give words to those who can’t. There are also numerous prayers found throughout the Scriptures, some as long as an entire chapter, others as short as a sentence or phrase. Would praying the same brief thought or phrase throughout the day for all sorts of people be bad or wrong? Of course not. In fact, such an activity might cement that prayer in your heart so well that you may find yourself praying it more often. In prayer as in almost everything, simple works.
Do these tips help you think about prayer in fresh ways? Do you have other ideas for making room for prayer amid a busy life? I want to start this new season of blogging with a giveaway, so any blog comments between now and Sunday night, 9/13, at midnight will earn you an entry in a contest to win The Stress Cure: Praying Your Way to Personal Peace by my friend Linda Evans Shepherd along with a bonus book (if you win, I’ll email you some choices). Comment away! I’ll announce the winner next week.
For His glory,