It is not always easy to find time to pray. It should be. Or at least, I think it should be. But, in my world, it’s not. And that makes me sad. I can’t remember how many times this thought has passed through my mind. Yet, I haven’t really done anything productive to address this problem.
How to Find Time to Pray
The three main reasons I came up with:
I have a really busy life and it’s difficult to find enough time in my day for everything I need to do. When I do try to pray, I often find myself at a loss as to what to do – my brain just feels so scattered! And last but not least – definitely not least – I don’t make it enough of a priority.
That last one really gets me right in the gut. My relationship with God is sometimes a complicated one. It’s an important one though. And we should give the highest priority to the things that are important to us, right? So then why do I tend to put God at the bottom of my “to do” list?
Let’s begin by addressing the issue of priorities.
Think about how you take care of the other priorities in your life. How do you deal with those? I put them into my planner and I set alarms on my phone to keep on track. I took a look at my life, what things I could eliminate because they weren’t as important as talking with God, and made a specific plan for incorporating God time into my daily schedule.
When it comes to fitting prayer into my busy day, I have found some apps that are really making a difference for me. I took part in a Bible study leading up to Easter. The priest who was leading it shared really great resources with us each week – websites and apps that we could use to enhance our prayer and Bible study time. These have proven invaluable to me.
Prayer Websites and Apps I Highly Recommend
One of them – 3 Minute Retreat – is exactly what it sounds like. It’s from the Jesuits and it provides beautiful imagery and music along with readings (Bible verses reflections, and then questions to spark your own reflection) that will take no more than 3 minutes to read.
Obviously, you can take more time if you have more, but this has been an excellent addition to even the busiest of days. I can use 3 Minute Retreat while Walter and William are eating their snacks or engaging in some independent play. Sacred Space is similar but with a slightly different format. Try them both and see which you prefer. I jump around as the mood strikes me.
Pray as You Go is an app that is designed to be easily used by people on the go. Again, it is comprised of music, Bible reading, and reflections but in this case, you don’t have to do the reading yourself. There is someone speaking to you. I find Pray as You Go perfect then for times when I’m doing something else.
Normally, I’m not a big proponent of too much multi-tasking but when doing something fairly mindless like doing the dishes or other housework, commuting to and from work, and doing my morning yoga, this app is ideal. Each session lasts about 12-15 minutes, which I find to be just the right amount of time for most of these chores.
Finally, there’s Hallow. I pretty much use Hallow on a daily basis. Hallow has a variety of resources available. There is sacred music and I truly believe that listening or singing along to sacred music is a form of prayer. They also have many different prayers there with recordings of people praying them so you can pray along. Having that voice to pray with helps me to focus. You can even set goals and timers for different prayers so you get reminders.
Some of the prayer options there are only 3-5 minutes long (and they let you know how long before you start!), so it’s easy to fit quick prayer options in and around the demands of your daily schedule.
On Hallow, they often have “challenges” – which can be anything from praying a novena to reading excerpts of a book together to learning more about the saints and beyond. There are daily Gospel readings, reflections, homilies, and you’ll even find the Bible in a Year and Catechism in a Year programs with Father Mike Schmidt there. If you’re looking to dig in even further, you can take courses like “A Biblical Walk through the Mass” there too.
Find God in everything.
When you look for God in everyone and everything you do, it makes it easier to add some prayer to your day. Seeing God in Walter’s and William’s faces inspires me to say a prayer to thank God for this beautiful blessing or to ask God to bless them.
The beauty of the sunset, the refreshing feeling of the cool breeze over your skin, the delicious taste of your morning yogurt – there are opportunities all throughout the day to see God and to offer up a quick prayer.
Find a prayer partner.
Sometimes a little accountability is all that’s needed to form a new life habit. Ask around. You might just find someone in your circle of friends who is struggling with their prayer life too. Or perhaps you will find someone who can serve as a mentor.
Plan a regular coffee date with your friend and spend a few minutes praying together. Go for an evening walk together and pray as you walk. Can’t get together in person? Make an agreement to text or private message each other daily with a few words of prayer.
I actually used to do this with a group of friends via email. It was an ongoing mass email that we each added to every day. We included prayer requests, words of scripture that we found meaningful, and words of praise and thanksgiving over the blessings in our lives.