As a working mom, I never have extra time, especially not quiet time for me. I hear others talk about spending an hour a day to study, meditate, and pray, but I can’t fathom such a luxury. What about you? Does it seem like your life is already jam-packed? Do you have a hard time imagining how you’d squeeze 20 or 30 minutes of quiet time from your schedule, much less an hour? Does it feel like you’re too busy to pray? How can you make time for God in your busy schedule?
Our schedule is driven by our priorities
The truth is our schedule is largely driven by our priorities and what we hold most valuable. Sure, the bulk of your day may be taken with must-do things like sleeping, eating, working, and getting kids to school and activities, but you do have some discretionary time each day. Think about what time you spend watching TV, listening to the radio as you drive, scrolling through Facebook, or playing on your computer.
Do you want to add more prayer time into your day? Do you want to spend time in God’s word? Do you want more of the peace and hope that comes from a deeper relationship with God? Then, let’s figure out how to make that time in your busy schedule! Start by looking over your typical daily schedule. When do you get up? What activities do you do during the day? Where do you have time that’s not taken by must-do activities? Where do you have time to yourself? Sometimes, seeing your schedule on paper helps you better see opportunities or see where you’re spending time on things that aren’t your top priority.
Once you know where your time is spent, then look over your day and identify where you can make time for God. What time can you give to him in prayer and study? Below are some ideas to you get you thinking. I don’t use all of these every day, but I have used each of these at one time. If I can do this, so can you!
10 Ways to Incorporate Prayer into Your Busy Life
1) Before the house gets up
Wake up a little bit earlier than everyone else and have your quiet time first thing in the morning. This is how I’ve made time for writing and studying. I get up quite a bit earlier than the rest of the house, but maybe you can start by setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal. Grab that cup of coffee and spend 30 minutes of quiet time with God. Read from your Bible, pray, and listen.
2) Getting ready in the morning
Now that the kids are old enough to give mom privacy in the morning while I shower and get ready, it’s become a time when I do some of my best thinking. I often spend my shower time talking with God, discussing my day, brainstorming about my dreams, or working through concerns or issues. Sometimes I’ll use that time for podcasts or the daily prayer from the Pray As You Go app.
3) During your commute
My kids are finally out of daycare and can now walk to school, so my morning commute is just me again. I have a short drive, only 15-20 minutes, but it’s still enough for some quiet time with God. Sometimes I’ll listen to the audio Bible on my YouVersion app. Other times I’ll spend time in prayer (just don’t close your eyes while driving!). This is another good time to go through the daily prayer in Pray As You Go.
4) Over lunch
Maybe you get a lunch break at work? I’ve found this to be a great time to work through a Bible study. While you eat, read and study the Bible, closing with some time in prayer. Not only do you get to have a lunch date with God, but watch how it changes your perspective and attitude as you go back into your work for the afternoon.
5) During waiting time
As a mom, I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms. Hours each week spent in waiting rooms during doctor and therapy appointments, sports practices, and other activities. It’s often not enough time to leave and get other errands done (and they’re still young enough that I don’t really like leaving them anyway). So, I try to make the most of this time. In fact, it’s a key strategy in how I make time for writing, but it’s also a great time to do some reading or study. How could you spend that time reading your Bible, working through a study, listening to the audio Bible or podcast. I especially love to listen to other preachers’ sermons on podcasts to get some additional perspective. This could even work as you wait in the carpool line.
6) In the evening
After your day is done, how do you relax and wind down? Do you watch TV, read a book, work on a hobby, play computer or video games, or scroll through Facebook? What if once a week you exchanged that time for Bible study? Maybe you could line it up with a Bible study group at your church or in your neighborhood? Spend that time with others digging into God’s word in community. Or, carve out that quiet time for your own study and prayer at home.
7) In the bath
Sometimes when I really need to relax and reset, I’ll indulge in a long bath at night after the kids go to sleep. I love to light some candles, put on some relaxing music, and just chill. Often, this will become a time with God as I let my own thoughts empty and make space for God’s voice to enter. Sometimes I’ll spend this time reading a devotional book, which spurs my thoughts and conversation with God. Other times I’ll simply slip into the conversations we need to have, yet never seem to have time to discuss.
8) At the gym
Change your workout music to some upbeat praise and worship songs and sing God’s praises while you run. I have a playlist of workout-worthy praise songs (mine is filled with artists like Rend Collective, For King and Country, 7eventh Time Down, Matt Maher) that keep me energized and focus my mind on prayers of praise. I’ve also found the treadmill to be a great time to catch up on reading, so consider using that time to read your daily devotional or listen to the audio Bible.
9) Putting the kids to bed
Sometimes I’ll linger as I get the kids to bed and enjoy the silence of their room as they drift off to sleep. I’ll pray over my child and then spend time with God in prayer. I’ve had some of my best conversations with God while rocking a sleeping baby.
10) Your own ideas…
What other ideas do you have? Where else do you spend your time? What could you cut out of your day in order to give time to God? Where in your day could you make better use of your time?
Spending even 20 minutes a day with God will change your whole day. Taking time to be grounded in his Word and developing an ongoing conversation with God is the most crucial thing you can do each day. You’ll find your attitude changes, you won’t be as bothered by the small stuff, you’ll have more hope when life brings trials your way, and you’ll feel more encouraged as you journey through the path laid before you. Your faith will grow in ways you never imagined.
Take the plunge today and find that time! Stop making excuses, because none of us are truly too busy to find a little time for God. After all, he should be our first priority. He should be getting the best of us – our first fruits. How will you give him your time and your focus today?
Make the most of your time with God
Now that you’ve found time in your week for prayer, how will you make the most of that time? Simply enter into conversation with God. Open your heart and pour out your soul to him. Listen for his responses.
If that blank canvas of time is too unstructured and you need help focusing, The Prayer Toolbox is a fantastic resource to keep close for your prayer time. This booklet provides instructions on a number of prayer methods and includes more than 50 ideas for your daily prayer. Work through these suggestions in your prayer time and see how your prayer life deepens and matures.
If you need a bit more structure, try a focused prayer series. Commit to a particular number days of prayer around a particular topic using a prayer calendar or devotional. Below are a few I have to offer here:
- Pray Deep: The Lord’s Prayer – A 40-day journey through the Lord’s Prayer, praying it line-by-line to uncover the depths of this well-known prayer. Learn to pray as Jesus taught and deepen your prayers through these daily devotionals, scripture readings, reflection questions, and prayer prompts.
- Pray Deep: Ignite Your Prayer Life in 21 Days – A 21-day devotional journal, introducing 20+ prayer methods and exploring the very nature of prayer
- Pray Deep: Finding Stillness in the Storm – A 21-day devotional journal exploring how to trust God in the middle of life’s storms, find stillness with God, and experience Sabbath rest.
- Pray Deep for Advent – A daily devotional journal for the season of Advent, focused on finding hope, peace, joy, and love as we wait expectedly for Jesus.