So, how do you balance your prayer life??

When God first drew me to Bible study curriculum, I had no thought of ever having an office or even a “ministry.” I fell in love with Scripture at my old dining room table in my late twenties after taking a Bible doctrine class. Over the course of weeks, months and then years, that table was bow-legged and piled halfway to the ceiling with resources, pages, colored pens. It hardly ever had an actual meal set on it. If folks needed to eat, I reasoned, they could eat at the breakfast table. My man got so weary of book-tyranny that he practically did a cartwheel in his cowboy boots when I found a tiny office space at a nearby building that we could (barely) afford.

Over the years and one wonderful person at a time, God built a true team and led us from that office building to our own (house-like) ministry building. (Only about 14 of us work in-office, in case you’re trying to picture the size.) One of my very favorite parts about working here amid these fine women of God is lunch conversation. We have staff prayer time on Mondays at noon so, between the other four workdays a week and my travel schedule, I usually average about 2-3 lunches a week with these dear sisters, ranging in age, in background and denomination. But those times are highlights for me and we talk a hundred miles an hour and, many times, laugh a creak in our necks. Occasionally at lunch I throw a topic out on the table and hold a mental bucket wide open to catch what tumbles out of my coworkers mouths. If Curtis happens to be at lunch that day, it’s even better. He is man enough and opinionated enough to provide a welcome shore for this sea of estrogen. Today there were only 6 of us girls so, late in the lunch, I said to them, “OK, I have a question for the table.”

I told them about one of my LPL praise team members showing me some writings that his new wife had done (with her permission, of course). They were psalms, really. Gorgeous outpourings of love and need and wrestling and waiting that she’d written to God over the course of what I’d suppose was a decade. The book was compiled from portions of her prayer journal and, as I read them, I marveled at the beauty and almost blushed at the intimacy. One thing was certain: Jesus was and is the uncontested love of her life. And, from her husband’s point of view, he was twice as loved and blessed because he was second to God (and God alone).

Reading her journal stirred up a fresh longing in me. I know a woman who poured out pages and pages and pages like that. No, not as beautifully most of the time, but often as intimately. Jesus has been life to me. Redemption from wreckage. I know He has been the same to many of you. But here is the conflict her journal whipped up in me. In many of those extended periods of time when I’ve poured out my heart like that days-upon-end, I was going through extreme crisis and marrow-deep healing. (One season was as recently as nine months ago so, certainly, not all of these are in the past.) In my normal practice when I’m not in complete crisis mode, my sweetest and dearest relationship in life is still with Jesus. Even in all my frailty and fallenness, He is how I start my day.  I always make confession of sin toward the beginning, get into His Word then pray for myself for several minutes right at the end but, in between, Girlfriend, I HAVE A LIST! I mean, mature believers are meant to have healthy intercessory lives, right? The New Testament summons us over and over to pray for one another. I keep a prayer journal of intercession with multiple people on it everyday. And, then, all these natural disasters! We have to be on our faces, don’t we? And, what about the spiritual condition of this country?? It needs prayer, doesn’t it? “If My people who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face…”

Yes and yes and yes and yes and yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. BUT, we will miss out on the new wine of life if we do not also spend time in the presence of Jesus just simply being present with Jesus. Most things don’t fix on their own. We don’t automatically forgive on our own. Or heal on our own. Or put others first on our own. Or discern between good and evil on our own. Or comprehend the Scriptures on our own. We are the children of God and our hearts need tending and mending that only He can bring. And, in our intercessory roles, we’re also wise to come to grips with the fact that we’re not in control and our whole worlds won’t fall apart if we don’t get through our lists today.

SO, here’s the question! How do we balance both kinds of prayer: for others and for ourselves?? How do you grapple with this dilemma? Most of the time, I let crisis be my guide and when I need more personal tending, I spend more personal time with God on matters concerning my own heart. I think that’s a good plan and it’s worked fairly well for a long time. But, then, I read something like that young woman’s journal and I long for that level of personal intimacy with Christ every single day. Anybody else?? I know there’s no getting this thing down pat but I think I need some shifting and sifting in my prayer life.

We had the richest conversation over it at lunch time and now I’d love to hear your take on it. So far from our conversation, I think I’ve decided that I’m going to stay with my usual early morning prayer-practice with the primary emphasis on intercession for most days a week, but, at least for a little while, I’m going to take two mornings back a week, primarily just for Him and me. Times just to bring my own needy heart before Him with concentration and  complete transparency for fresh intimacy and revival. More than the few minutes I spend on other days. Needless to say, this is all subject to the daily leadership of the Holy Spirit and He can turn the whole thing upside down any time He wants but I think I’m about to get that pen back out and write some new love letters to the dearest Love of my life.

Anybody else struggling with how to pray? I’m not talking about formulas here nor doing the same thing the same way every day. I’m just talking about some basic balance. Anybody found some?? Let’s hear it! (Not too long, ladies! Think succinct!) Scripture tells us to encourage one another and stimulate one another’s hearts and minds toward the Lord Jesus. That’s what Siestaville is all about. Don’t freak out if it’s morning before we post many of your comments. Keith just called me and wants me to go somewhere with him this evening so I won’t be able to bring in comments much tonight. I’ll bring in a few this afternoon then K-Mac and I will get the rest of them posted as we can. You are dear to us around here! I missed you at the lunch table today.

P.S. Make me a promise that nobody falls into condemnation here. I am well aware that some of you moms of young children (and some of you caring for elderly parents) are doing well to get ten minutes alone with the Lord.  He meets us where we are.  Let’s stay healthy here. Let’s also encourage one another to grow in our intimacy with Christ.

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683 Responses to “So, how do you balance your prayer life??”

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  1. 1
    kendal says:

    i see, in hindsight, that the times i should pray for myself the most, i. do. not. i’ll pray for anything under the sun except my own rebellious heart. coming through some real storms that took longer than necessary because of my unrepentance has taught me to take time for this girl. and then, the others. praise, confession, intercession. that’s my order. and it’s all. day . long. i’m not perfect. i still find myself giving more to my blog or a book i’m reading than to god. but….i’m learning.

  2. 2
    Donna Jo says:

    I’m teared up reading this. My prayer life has been a bit broken for a while now. I’m between the rains. I just spent many days journaling/praying Psalms 119 back to Him because I can’t seem to pray anything on my own these days. When the crisis in the world continue to hit I’m so overwhelmed I’m speechless and prayerless. Literally can’t get words out, I just cry in frustration. In this valley He seems to be teaching me to let go of all formulas. I’m raw. I’m open. I’m waiting…

    • 2.1
      Beth says:

      Oh, Donna Jo, but that is such intimacy you’re describing. The Holy Spirit is making intercession for you according to the will of god when you can’t get the words out.

    • 2.2
      Rhonda McClellan says:

      Dear One in Christ, I feel your brokenness. Psalm 119 also ministered to me at an overwhelming time. Actually, I related to portions of it at my greatest time of hurt and grief, and later other verses(just one verse away) revealed that my Redeemer was doing a healing and growing work within me. He took me from a valley of hurt to a mountain top of praise and growth. There were days that I hurt so bad that I could only cry out one word, “Hosanna”; Hosanna as in “save me”. I can now say “Hosanna” is my prayer and my praise. Let Him quiet you with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17) Praying for you now.

    • 2.3
      Jackie says:

      I have often in dripping tears, gasping, asked the Holy Spirit to intercede for me, Romans 8, and let me see the result so I can give You thanks. He can take those tears and turn them into water, fountains, that grow and refresh self and others.

    • 2.4
      Julie says:

      The Holy Spirit is praying for you, Sister!

    • 2.5
      Lynn says:

      I love how you describe the time as between the rains. I have so been there too and love to know that when we can not pray the Holy Spirit intercedes us. I so appreciate your honesty, when we are broken vessels He can put us back together the way He desires us to be. I spent months crying out to Him in my pain, crying myself to sleep night after night wondering how long I could exist in that kind of pain. He healed my broken heart and set my feet on a new path. Not an easy time but I would never want to give up what I learned in that broken place. Beauty from ashes is His desire. Blessings to you.

    • 2.6
      Melany says:

      ….and I’m a desert. Ugh! I know how to pray, when to pray, what to pray for. BUT DON’T DO IT!! It’s like my lips are sealed and teeth are clenched. Lord help me open wide my mouth that you might fill it – and prayer come tumbling out!

  3. 3

    Hi Siesta Mama!

    Oh, I have no idea how to balance. I’m deep in the trenches right now with 4 little ones, 7 years old and under, that I pat myself on the back to be up before them and try to read and pray and have it mean something other than keeping a discipline. Working on that.

    I’m also in a season of being “rebuilt,” meaning I feel like God is tearing down MY construction of what I thought He was and is bringing me back to Basic Jesus 101… I am praying to truly know him for who He is, not what I want or thought Him to be.

    When I go about my day and my thoughts turn to friends, real or online/siestas, I pray for them then. I ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment if I know no other way to pray for specifics. I’m trying to trust the Lord in His leading here too.

    Looking forward to read responses here.
    much love,
    rachel

    • 3.1
      Beth says:

      You young moms are in a completely different category here! I totally get what you’re saying and, boy, do I ever remember! God is so good to meet us right where we are. So glad to have your input!

    • 3.2
      Monica says:

      I feel like I’m in that being “Rebuilt Season” too! God’s showing me the Joy He Brings to my Heart when He gives me the courage to encourage someone else in their Faith!
      Love & Prayers

      • Beckie Potterfield says:

        Rachel, what a blessing to read your comments about being rebuilt. I am planning on quoting you Tuesday night in Bible study (with your permission). What a lesson to just get back to Basis Jesus 101.

  4. 4
    Lynda Rickey says:

    Beth, I am always so blown away by my sweet Jesus and how He cares for every thing in my life. Just a few days ago, I was praying about what to do regarding my prayer life. It is such a comfort to know that others are struggling with the same thing. I personally try to have a conversation throughout the day, as things pass through my mind. I also pray in the morning but usually for others. I decided that I am going to start writing/typing the scriptures and then write/type my response to Jesus. This seems like it will stir up the areas in my life that I keep under wraps and allow the Father to speak to me, heal me, love me. I’m finding this easy to do with the book of Psalms. I love you, sister. Lynda

  5. 5
    Dawn King says:

    I’m struggling with this too, how to balance my life the way it is. Up to last September, I was a stay-at-home mom of 7 ages 15 to 5. I started working 30 hours per week then and I knew it was God’s will, but it has been HARD. This week I just started my first full-time job in 16 years and it is even harder to get everything done: husband, family, home management, ministry, time with the Lord. I get up early to have a quiet time but half the time I’m nodding off in the middle. I sure hope it gets better because I am feeling quite dry. I know this job is where He wants me, but it sure would help if I felt His presence a little bit more.

    • 5.1
      Dutchess says:

      Oh Dawn thank you for your words. You and I are in a similar position. I too was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, only working part-time here and there, for over 12 years. Now I’m working full-time in a very stressful job and my prayer time seems to be, “God please deliver me from this place!” and “God give me strenth to not only survive another work day but to let my light shine.” When the workday is done I feel I fall into disobedience because when I hear that still small voice calling to me, I’m too tired to get off the couch and answer. I said all that to say this, most of my prayer time now is for me. I pray for others as the Spirit leads but for the most part, I’m trying to keep it together.

      • Beth says:

        Dear sweet Duchess, My mother just went through exactly what you are experiencing now. She was in a job situation that was…lets just say WAY less then perfect. She was so discouraged and cried out for deliverance daily from it. She would begin her day (in her car) reading His Utmost for His Highest and praying for strength to face the day. The thing that changed her perspective towards the end was when she began praying less for deliverance and more for her coworkers. Prayers of blessings. They weren’t believers, so she prayed that God would use her in the darkness while He had her there. She just left that job last week. It wasn’t under the circumstances she wanted but we know God will not let His Word go out unfruitful. I will pray for you, dear sister, as I know how since I prayed my mother through the last 6 months.

        Be Blessed, Beth

  6. 6
    Barbara says:

    I can’t believe you brought this up, Beth. I’ve been struggling with this very thing forever – especially lately. No one ever teaches you how to pray. I’ve been a Christian for 42 years, grew up in church and went to a major Christian college. I was never taught the practical things like praying and Bible study. I guess we were supposed to “catch” how to do it somehow. I have a thick list in my notebook of prayer requests but feel I am just reciting my “laundry list” when I pray through it. Then I try “winging” it in prayer without my list and get so distracted I give up. I’ve tried praying the Psalms and other scripture. More than anything I want to have an intimate relationship with Jesus but just don’t know how to get there. I don’t know how to just “be” with Him

    I do learn from listening to others pray. (Though I don’t feel that comfortable praying with others.) My dream would be to have Beth, Anne Graham Lotz, Elizabeth Elliot and a few like others gather to pray together and let me listen in…or I’d love to just be able to listen in on their individual private prayer times to learn how better to do it. Even seeing examples like the journal Beth referenced would give me some idea.

    I’m stuck. Hopefully others blog responses will help.

    • 6.1
      Cathy Clark says:

      I could have written this myself. I struggle with prayer. I SO want that sweet, intimate time with God but I get so distracted also…..I do pray through out the day but I long for that special quiet time.

    • 6.2
      Pam says:

      I too need help knowing how to pray and would love a peek at that journal Beth mentioned!
      I used to be able to hear God’s voice and now I am in a dry season. help me God I miss you!

  7. 7
    A Friend says:

    I am very far from having a prayer balance right now. I will have a good day, and then try and live off of that power for as long as I can. But my husband and I are going through a very difficult season (not maritally speaking, I should add), and I see how I am being drawn to Him more and more. I am not going to beat myself up about my shortcomings, but enjoy the journey, trusting Him for my life.

  8. 8
    Karene says:

    Your post is exactly where my heart has been. I will try to be succinct 🙂 For the past 4 years, I have learned to carve out a lengthy time with the Lord in the morning. It started with 30 minutes before my family got up, and then when I realized I needed more time with Him, I have adjusted my alarm time for at least an hour, and often 2 hours before the house is alive. Until my youngest child changed school schedules, I was getting up at 5. Incredible for a former night owl.

    All that to say, is that Jesus has truly met me in the morning. I start with a Scripture, or a devotional or two, and I always have my journal with me. The Holy Spirit brings to mind people who need prayer (I do have a list, but I’m not obsessive about it.) And He speaks to me about areas in my life where I need Him more. I journal my thoughts, and I find they often turn into prayers. It’s very free-form, but I love just sitting and “being” with Jesus. He really does speak to my spirit, when I take the time to listen.

    Ok, not very succinct. But I have to say, Beth, you were the one who started me on this journey 4 yrs ago. You so obviously were in love with Jesus, and I didn’t have that. I wanted it desperately, and I realized I needed to really get to know Him. And I couldn’t know Him without spending time with Him. So now He and I have our coffee together every morning 🙂 Thank you!

  9. 9
    Jessie says:

    Hmm…talk about a timely post. I have been struggling with my prayer life. See, my preferred method of prayer is pen and paper, and I find it so limiting at times. I kind of follow the spirits leading, whether it be intercessory or personal, but my longing of late has been more personal. I am also trying to keep an open and running conversation with Jesus throughout the day, and pray for people/things/situations as He brings them to mind.

  10. 10
    Beth says:

    I use to be a mighty woman of prayer –spending at least 30 – 45 minutes in prayer every morning. I loved my time with the Lord. I prayed over family, friends, circumstances, etc. Lots of prayer in a lot of different areas. Then something just awful happened that I specifically asked God to not allow. I have suffered terribly with my prayer life ever since. I’m scared to death to spend too much time praying for others instead of my immediate family for fear that God would allow something dreadful to happen again. So, my prayer time is down to about 15 minutes each morning, mainly for just my family. I’m ashamed.

    • 10.1
      stainedglassreflections says:

      I prayed for you when I read this. May God give you a spirit of peace where your family is concerned.

    • 10.2
      Susan says:

      Beth, I feel funny saying this but after much prayer and with great trepedation I feel I can’t stay quiet.The enemy has successfully silenced you from talking with your Father. He who is in you is stronger than He who is in the world. Please forgive me if I’m out of line but God is in complete control. Beth, step back and read what you just wrote, take yourself out of the situation, what would you say to this individual if she came to you for advice? I’ll be praying for you. Are you getting boxed in? Please know I’m not in anyway being judgmental.

      • Beth says:

        Thank you Susan for your honest words. You are so right. Please continue to pray. I will overcome this!

        • Susan says:

          Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

    • 10.3
      Karen E says:

      Oh, Beth! I’ve been there — so afraid of whatever else God might allow into my life! The fear can be incredibly stifling, and then the shame creeps in. God knows you and knows how much you’ve suffered. God loves you so much! Please let Him love you through all your disappointment and fear. You are so worth it. You’re in my prayers.

      • Beth says:

        Thank you so much Karen for your prayers.

        • Lisa says:

          Beth,

          Lately, I have been reading through the devotional journal, “Looking up: Trusting God With Your Every Need” by our very own Beth Moore. Sounds like you have been thrown into a pit and need help getting out. I would recommend this journal to you as a way to guide you up and out where you can get your feet back on solid rock again.

          Love in Him,
          Lisa

  11. 11
    Kathleen says:

    I use the 2959 Prayer Plan and have for years. “2959” means 29 minutes and 59 seconds, but don’t be overwhelmed by that amount of time – you can use the plan however you wish – 30 minutes or 30 seconds or whatever works for you.The beauty of the book is that the week is divided into 7 days with scriptures of praise for each day – and things to concentrate on in your prayers for each day. You fill in pages on what is on your heart to pray for – for yourself and others. For example, one day is “Missionaries,” another day is “Government Leaders,” another day is “Church Leaders,” etc. I’ve gradually adapted it over the years. It is only a tool to use as best fits your life and needs. I pray for family and close friends every day,special needs I know about, and for my workplace. This keeps me balanced and also gives me a diary of my life and a journal of answered prayers. For example, I prayed for the son of a friend for several years, and I can look back now see where I recorded that he rededicated his life. Very comforting to look back and see answers and the power of God moving in so many lives. Just google 2959 Prayer Plan. It is a wonderful and blessed guide I’ve used for almost 30 years.

  12. 12
    Tina says:

    Oh Man! I don’t really know how to balance. With a younger one and two teenagers and now helping with sick parents…it’s kind of crazy. It seems I pray during these various crisis moments but forget the other times. Sometimes I fall asleep while praying at night…YIKES. I have never quite gotten the early morning thing as I’m just absolutely NOT a morning person. So…timing…
    Just trying to be strong and make it through with God’s help. I’m sure He would like just ME to visit sometime…

    • 12.1
      Jill says:

      You could have just described me, except I have two very young children. I fall asleep often in my prayers at night, yet if I even manage to get up early enough, I can’t remember what I’ve read later that day. I get so frustrated because my spirit is willing but my flesh is so weak…

  13. 13
    Beth says:

    Lately, I’ve been spending time talking to God about my weakness and His strength. Through these conversations He has convinced me that there are times when I am even too weak to know what to pray for, what to ask him for, for my life and those I love. In those times I have been known to give God some really good scenarios of how He could answer my prayers; even ways that will give Him maximum glory. In the end I come back to my weakness and His abundant strength, praying “let your strength overcome my weakness.”

  14. 14
    Mary says:

    I love how the Lord ministers to me — and today this is just what I needed to read and ponder. I’m struggling with prayer. There are times when I feel selfish in my prayers — all me, all the time and other times when I feel as if I don’t focus on me and I get off track for it.

    I journal, but not nearly enough, but it blesses me so when I do. I can focus on needs — of myself and of others. Also, I love to keep a prayer list — not the mental kind I use, but the paper kind and preferably a cute colored post-it note stuck in the back of my Bible.
    If I have that list, then I’m diligent and faithful to pray for those on it.

    But balance? I struggle with it and it’s a prayer of this season “Lord don’t let me miss a thing I’m to bring before you.”
    Love your heart, sweet one!

  15. 15
    Karen says:

    O my, Beth, you so struck a healing cord with your post. I’ve been in a prayer jumble each morning, especially these past two years, having been laid-off and losing everything now, losing my mom, and trying to hold on to a relationship with my daughters (ages 27 and 31) who live in another city. I’ve kept a prayer time and journal each morning for two decades since becoming a single mom. Yet, my life has never reaped any harvest, only a continuous series of loss. So, I’m going to adopt, with your unspoken permission, your new prayer practice. And as you say, I ask for the daily leadership of the Holy Spirit, to write love letters to my love and Lord, Jesus, and to also keep other days for my intercessions. Lists are important, I know! Thanks and love to all of you.

    Karen

  16. 16
    Dayna says:

    My prayers seem so quick and almost routine sometimes! I pray right when I get out of bed (short prayer). Throughout the day, here and there. When someone ask prayer for someone. When I hear of a tragedy. But I long for a more intimate relationship with our Savior. Beth, during the Esther study I heard you talk about finding an old prayer journal of yours and looking through it. I thought to myself I need to get a prayer journal. I want a record to look back on like that of my set apart time with the Lord. That was weeks ago and I still haven’t got that journal going. I think this blog of yours has been my wake up call.
    Love you lots, Dayna xoxo

  17. 17
    Dee says:

    I have struggled with prayer for many years. I do great at “prayers on-the-go” and prayers as needs arise/come to mind/are brought to mind. But what you’re talking about? Concentrated prayer time? I’ve tried that and my brain just will.not.cooperate. In the front of my brain, I’m trying to pray or listen and in the background is a whole ‘nother track running. I’ve tried to meditate and tried to focus but just can’t! I hate it, but I just don’t know what else to do.

    • 17.1
      Robin says:

      Dee, here’s what I have learned. I struggle with being consistent, but what I HAVE learned is how much FOCUS I gain from simply using a journal to write my prayers down! I can journal, I can intercede, I can get crazy and creative and ask for big things, whatever. Something about writing things down seems to pull in a sort of focus which is unique and powerful. And I also made a sorta grandiose list which includes about a dozen topics which I can pull from when I am “there” – everything from weight loss goals to my children’s future to our finances. And if I go through this list I feel as if my life is COVERED. (When I use it…I haven’t gotten real disciplined about it like I want…) Does that help any? 🙂

      • Dee says:

        Robin,

        Thank you for your response, it did help! You are right, writing out prayers does help me to focus. I’ve done that in the past too. I’m a “numbers” person and not a writer, so it’s hard for me to make that a habit, but when I have done it, it has helped. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  18. 18
    Alisha McManus says:

    Donna Jo couldn’t have said it better. “When the crisis in the world continue to hit I’m so overwhelmed I’m speechless and prayerless. Literally can’t get words out”..except she is raw and open. I feel cold and stuck…Balance? I’m having a hard time just doing it.

    • 18.1
      Donna Jo says:

      Hi Alisha- Cold and stuck is ok. Take heart. He never leaves us, never stops pursuing us. I was cold and stuck for a long time. I’ve moved on to raw and open but it took time. I’m confidant rain is coming my way!

  19. 19
    Aly says:

    Hi Ms Beth! I’m a fairly new “siesta” (if I can self-appoint that title?) I’ve lately been praying for myself a lot more than I pray for others. I pray for myself and for people that directly affect me (like my husband). BUT, the other morning my two year old slept in so I was able to spend 30 extra minutes in intercessory prayer for so many… it was so satisfying to love others in this intimate way, that I thought I really need to incorporate this more! I think you’re right though, that there are seasons for each type of prayer life, and it really is Spirit-led. I’m in that desperate clinging, “marrow-deep healing” season right now, so that could explain my selfish prayers. I look forward to hearing more! (this isn’t so succinct, is it?)

  20. 20
    Joyce Watson says:

    A few years ago, I read Catherine Marshall (Peter Marshall’s wife) book and she wrote out some of her prayers. It really touched my heart, so I started writing what was on my heart in a book also~but I do pray usually at night when its quiet or when I am alone at home. Sometimes, I pray and just talk to God during the day.
    Time for the Lord

    This time is for You, Lord
    a quiet time, a peaceful time
    The time that my thoughts are on You
    and I am still
    Waiting, Listening
    Your love inside me overflowing
    My heart searching, seeking You
    Full of praise for You,
    Thankful for Your creation and all
    the wonderful things You have done.
    Your care, Your love, Your righteousness
    all apart of Who you are
    God, take this time to speak to my heart,
    Help me feel your presence
    Help me express love for You.
    Nothing can be better than what You
    have planned for my life
    Nothing can bring true happiness, peace and joy
    or take away the pain, sorrows or heartaches of this world, but You
    No earthly treasure could be worth what You have for me now or in the future
    Let me recognize who You are, God because of Your greatness, powerfulness, strength, character and love.
    Thank you that I can come to You and You alone.
    Thank you that You are a holy, meciful God who allows me to pray.
    _________________________________________________________
    There are times I struggle
    insist on having my own way
    Refuse to listen, Refuse to obey
    Bad thoughts seem to creep in my mind
    My actions and words are sometimes unkind,
    But, that is when You take me, Lord
    Like a little child,
    You take me and hold me in Your arms,
    And You do not let go.
    You take me to the place in my life
    where I search, I seek for You
    For You know my hurts and pains,
    You know my heart
    How unworthy and unclean I sometimes feel
    To know I hurt You,
    when You care so much for me. Please forgive me, O Lord.
    Yet, You hold me, still
    You love me in times
    I need You the most.
    ~joyce~

  21. 21
    twinkle says:

    1. Don’t twitter when it comes to prayer.
    2. Read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Every day. Get the one with the journaling section and list each day’s calling from Jesus and what your response is to be to that calling. Press it in with abiding prayer. It is personal and so good at developing a deeper relationship with Christ in a concise amount of time.
    3. Make time to read the Word every day. Biblegateway’s website has reading plans you can do online. I love the yearly plan to read through the New Testament. For some reason, it makes me notice things in the shorter reading schedule. The closer you feel to Him, the easier it becomes to pray without ceasing. As you read about the way He healed the sick and how He was treated by His enemies, your heart just opens up to Him in prayer.
    4. Prayer can be a hymn you sing to Him. When the words won’t come from your heart, sing “I Must Tell Jesus.”
    5. Be quiet and listen when you pray. God knows what is in your heart without you telling Him. Let Him hold you. Let Him have a chance to whisper to your silent prayer.
    6. Always ask Him to minister to you.
    7. Pray His Word. Find prayers of thanksgiving, prayers for blessings, prayers for spiritual warfare, prayers for guidance. As you pray the Word, pray it like you are savoring the very words of the verses. For the Armour of the Lord’s prayer from Ephesians…ponder each piece of the Armour as you visualize placing it on your body. The Helmet of Salvation…it covers and protects your eyes, your mind, your ears, your emotions…etc. Ponder how HE is your salvation. HE is your righteousness. HE is your Truth…”eat” the scroll of God’s Word. Pray it with faith and feeling. Taste and see how it brings power and peace.

    Just a few of my thoughts. Prayer should be a time of abiding in Jesus. Not a time of twittering.

  22. 22
    Heather Smith says:

    I was just processing through these very things this morning in the car… the concept of ABIDING and LISTENING and PRUNING and PRAYING… and staying fresh…

    I do have a journal of prayer needs. I cover myself and immediate family daily as well as our church, and then on all the other days have things mapped out by day so I know that I “cover” it all in a week’s time. Of course there are urgent things that make a “daily” list for a while. Just gives my Type A personality comfort by having it like this.

    But I will tell you one thing: There are times I will BURST if I don’t journal. If I don’t just WRITE my thoughts, prayers, and what the Holy Spirit is saying, I will simply explode!! These come in waves and in the lowest AND highest of times. I LOVE THESE TIMES. And when I need encouragement that God HEARS and WILL WORK in my future, I go back and read this from my past.

    So to sum it up I believe God honors the discipline of the daily, but he also loves keeping our love relationship surprising and fresh as we journey. I want to listen carefully and be fully present for it every day!

  23. 23
    elaine says:

    Beth….
    Prayer is probably my weakest aspect in my walk with Christ. i have s l o w l y been learning to pray throughout the day…. approach Him like a child would approach her daddy…. even if i’m not sure if it’s something I should even be asking for or talking about…. He simply wants me to come to Him. I have also learned that when I completely cannot think of the words to say…. or just tears come out and no words….. that’s a prayer too, right? i sure hope so, because sometimes, that’s all i can muster. i am a single mom with 3 teenage boys…. i am outnumbered, exhausted, often fearful, confused, discouraged, exhausted… wait, i already said that….. sometimes, I don’t even know if others are praying for me. but I do know that Christ intercedes for me when I fail to pray for my own needs. the other challenge attached to prayer… is being quiet, rested, and still enough to hear God’s voice. To hear what He’s telling me to do….. where to go….. my life gets too ‘loud’…. i know He’s speaking… i’m just not hearing Him.

  24. 24
    Stacie says:

    I am one of those busy moms. I have six children under the age of 12. I found this topic very interesting. I think for me that I go through seasons of intense prayer. Those are times that I normally write in my journal. I want to look back and see what God did with that struggle. I want my children to see what He did with it, and since it is in black and white, it will always be there for them. They will know their mama struggled, and who she turned to.

    Everytime I pick a formula, God turns things around. He will NOT let me get away with that. It replaces relationship. But I do believe we all need to be disciplined. I like the pray without ceasing. Whenever something or someone comes to mind, I try to pray about it or them. It works and I can honestly say that I prayed. I don’t think the amount of words means that much to God.

    So that’s my two cents!

    Stacie

  25. 25
    Julie says:

    Ditto Donna Jo above, word for word.

  26. 26
    Gretchen says:

    In my time in the morning, I rarely spend a great deal of time praying — I’m usually meditating or reading. But I have an ongoing conversation with Him all the time while I’m at work or wherever else I am, going over things with Him, looking at things that have happened or might happen and trying to see it from His perspective. It’s like my best friend is with me all the time and I have this ongoing dialogue with Him in my thoughts. Sometimes I get a word – He’ll bring a Scripture to mind about a particular thing or give me an insight about something or someone. Sometimes I’ll get a rebuke. I actually in my mind make comments to Him about all kinds of stuff – including praying for others as I go about my day. When a time of concentrated time is needed (which usually is deep confession or serious intercession), I’ll usually write it out. I don’t have a set time (ie, do one thing 2 days a week and/or something else 3 days). I guess I should? I work long hours, so I look forward to the weekends when I can spend several hours with him — but even that looks different every week. It all depends on the need(s). Looking forward to seeing what others do and perhaps learning some new ways to pray more effectively.

    Thanks for making us think about this, Beth. I love that you do that!

  27. 27
    Michele says:

    I have been wanting to teach a class on prayer solely for the experience of researching and learning more about prayer. I know the basics, but often, especially when there is nothing in particular on my heart (or list) but I just want to be closer to God, I don’t know what to say (and yes I tell Him that).

    I talk to God often, and I try to keep out of condemnation by reminding myself that God knows my heart. I want my prayer to be more than Greeting/shopping list/thank you. I hear people talk about being passionately in love with God – that is what I want. He is working on it, teaching me much about relating to him and other people.

    MamaBeth – my niece is buying a house, so we have been there remodeling this week. I was alone for a bit this afternoon, so I walked through every part of the house and prayed over it. That was a strange experience because as I was praying, I realized that I have no idea the things God will do in that house or how he will work in the lives of people who will enter it. And of course – I thought about Crisco! None available, but it made me snicker, haha.

  28. 28

    Beth, one of the most incredible times of prayer and intimacy that I have had with Jesus was when I spent about a year taking different stories in the NT (i.e The 10 lepers, the woman at the well, etc.), and putting myself in the story as one of the characters and actually “being there.” As I wrote, I would get lost in each story, with God giving me amazing insights into the characters and allowing me to get to know Jesus in an incredible way. This is actually called “scripture praying.” I loved getting up every morning and spending this intimate time with Jesus. Later, I published the stories in a book that I could share with my family and friends.

  29. 29
    Ginger says:

    Oh Beth… I have had multiple conversations with my best friend regarding this same thing… I use to be such a prayer warrior, it is like I am going through a season or entering into a new season, I have no idea what to call it. I use to could pray for anyone and everyone but now I have little to say and find myself just saying help me God. I do find it easier to pray for someone else rather than for myself….when I can pray. I have asked for intimacy with Him, letting Him know I desire it but it is so quiet now, to point I have even said to Him that I dont know what to say any more, or even what to call Him. I wish I could have input on balance but I am truly trying to seek it myself… As I have told Him and the one friend I have confided in, all I know is that I love Him and He loves me… that is all that I am sure of…

  30. 30
    Hope Hardy says:

    I have found prayer a challenging area for me. I’ve been a Christian for 17 years, and I find it so much easier to study God’s word than to pray. A pastor cautioned me on this because he pointed out that prayer is the actual communion time with God. I mostly pray for others through out the day as they come to my mind, and in the evenings I pray for myself. Dr. Charles Stanley mentioned in his devotional book that there is a fine line between bringing our burdens to God and treating God like he is there to fulfill our wishes. This is a point I have been really thinking about. It’s a tough one.

  31. 31
    Karen says:

    I have been really trying to work on this in my life. I start my time off repenting of sin and then I spend some time praising God. Just thanking Him for life and all the little ways He loves us. I found this to really get my heart flowing in the morning towards God. Then I read his Word and as I read I end with more prayer for people and myself. But the praising and thanksgiving really helps me feel close to Him.

  32. 32
    Darla Baerg says:

    This is SO weird. JUST this morning I was telling the Lord I wanted to be able to spend as much time with Him as Beth Moore. 🙂 Seriously. And then you posted this and it was like the Lord was saying … “Girl, everybody is figuring it out”. I am SO envious of your “study” time and every time you talk about stacks of books I want to cheer. I teach Sunday School every third week and the second I finish I can’t wait to study for the next lesson. Study time is great, but it’s not “hanging out with the Lord” time and I want to spend more fellowship time with Him. Like your friends “psalms” … pouring out my love for Him, pouring out my heart. Telling Him I love Him. Just as much as you do. 🙂

  33. 33

    Beth, I want to pray for so many folks I have trouble finding balance in this area even when I have a plan (starting with worship, praise, and giving thanks and then praying for a few people every day and also others on certain days of the week, etc.)

    I many times find myself feeling bound by my plan of prayer and feeling like I’ve failed if I haven’t prayed for everyone I’m supposed to, etc. (I hate to admit it, but that’s part of my struggle with performance tendencies. I’m trying very hard to let everything — worship, confession of sin, service, etc. — come from a heart of love for the Lord and not duty or just habit. Kind of hard for me because I’m such a creature of habit as well…)

    I DO love to have communion with the Lord in prayer and talk to Him throughout the day about anything and everything. Also, I DO want to pray for folks (so important and powerful) and want to be faithful, but I don’t like feeling bound by my prayer list and spending too much time, etc. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m beginning to wonder if I should get away from a list altogether, but then I’m afraid I won’t be faithful in my intercessory prayers… Looks like I need to ask the Lord what to do, huh?! 🙂

  34. 34
    Lisa curtis says:

    Beth, I am always amazed at God’s timing. I also follow Priscilla Shirer’s blog. She, too, today wrote of time spent with God. Love love it! I have never seemed to stick with a consistent prayer time and always seem to fail at my goals. I am happy to say I have led an MIT group for 14 years and in that time have seen many moms learn to pray, trust and be encouraged by God and His word. I am suffering now in a valley and know the Holy spirit intercedes for me as I watch and witness His hand in my family. I will again make an effort to increase my focused and deliberate prayer time and know He won’t let me down. Looking forward to Deeper Still in Louisville soon. Thanks foe always sharing your devotion. Lisa

  35. 35
    Gayla says:

    Beth,
    I have been convicted on this one on and off for decades. I am not a morning person and I am guilty of trying to do things too fast. Four years ago I
    had to move in with my mom after my dad died and it upset my world and definitely my prayer/devotion life. For the lack of a table to call my own and the luxury to be alone in the house I have given Satan a victory. I
    pray in bed, re3ad the bible a little but have lost the special meeting time with the lord. and… it… shows… (doesn’t it always?) Thank you. I don’t feel condemned—but it s something I need. What do you do if you’ve been “on the path” for 49 of your 56 years and you feel like you could get to the beginning fast!!! I don’t feel like a seasoned and mature prayer warrior—because sadly I am a baby Christian. I sometimes think I missed the window of opportunity. I love these blog posts with all the questions and answers. Beth, you are so real. Thank you so much.

  36. 36
    Shannon says:

    This is something I am struggling with. I am an almost 30 year old mom of an almost 3 year old boy who is 3 months pregnant (at the very tired stage). I have been married to my husband for 7 years. He is a teacher and a basketball coach who is gone a lot due to that. I work full time as a mental health therapist in a school based program year around and unfortantly with all my oblications my prayer life and time in the Word suffer. I feel so much closer to God and grow so much when I do spend time with him more regularly but it is a struggle more often than not with everything else going on to continue to be consistent about it. I do pray often and through out the day but really need to get into the word more and have that daily time with Him like I need. Please pray for me that I will be able to balance out that more and give God the place he deserves.

  37. 37
    Kathy W says:

    I do somethng similar to what Beth does. I start with scripture reading, and focus first on what God is trying to say to me that day from that particular portion. Then I write/pray relating to that first. Depending on the sensitivity of my heart on any given day, that can vary from a few sentences, to a couple of pages if I’m particularly convicted! Then I usually start my intercession time, writing down each request. THen I usually end up again with requests for myself. Some days that are particularly convicting or just personal, that’s all I do. But my journals definitely are weighted toward prayers for those I love and issues on my heart that particular day.

  38. 38
    jan says:

    I feel so much closer to God when I have a good long prayer time with him every morning…when I have certain things planned that I want to talk to Him about and request, when I use scripture in my prayer, and especially when I journal….but that doesn’t always happen and then I don’t feel so close to Him. When I don’t make/have the time for an extended prayer session, I try to remember what you have said, “think of Him waiting and excited for you to wake up and talk to Him very first thing”, so I try to do that first thing while lying in my bed before I get up…..I am not talking deep conversation. Although this may not be the long planned prayer time that I enjoy most

  39. 39

    i struggle with prayer time. and by struggle i really mean i don’t make time for it other than tucking my girls in at night and mealtimes. shame on me. i need to have a journal. i need to lift up so many…the countless people who come into my mind all day long. i need to do better. so thank you for bringing this up. in order for it not to be rote i think in addition to writing down requests maybe putting on some praise music and just praising prior to actually praying would set that intimacy factor.

    oh and i wanted to tell you that i saw you last weekend in eden prairie! it was my first time seeing you in person and it was a real joy. i’ve been chewing on that word all week long. it was really meant just for me:) thank you! i wrote about it on my blog (http://farmgirlpaints.blogspot.com/2011/05/divine-appointment.html). take a peek if you have time. i definitely don’t want to be a distraction;) love ya girl!

  40. 40
    Angela says:

    This is a great topic…

    I have to say that as a long time follower of Christ I have wrestled with this.
    One of my 1st memory verses for this year has really helped me take more time and focus on GOD.
    (Matt. 6:34a, msg)
    A few years ago I read Amy Grant’s book Mosaic (I think that was the name). She share’s that she prays thru the Lords Prayer (Matt. 6)every morning and make’s it a personal conversation between her and GOD. I don’t know why this was so earth moving for me, but it has really changed my personal time w/ God. Now, sometimes I will find myself saying the prayer in memorized way…like I did in the church I grew up in…then I have to slow myself down and really start breaking the whole thing down to talk to God about. Some days I don’t get much farther than “Hallowed be Thy Name”….and I spend time praise & worshipping….but then I tap into “Thy will be done” and really talk w/ God about what His will is. That I would be available and open and know His heart….
    I could go on but I think you get the picture.

    Now, the part I am still working on ~ having all the time I want for this…I am the mom of a 16, 14,12 & 10 yr olds…TIME…TIME…TIME I need more time!
    Angela
    Garner, NC

  41. 41

    Mornings for me are very intimate with the Lord. I use worship and praise to start my prayer time with the Lord–and I usually end that way. In between while I am studying the Word, I talk to Him all through it, as He also talks to me with the Word. I use my prayer journal to keep up with intercessory prayers….just this past week I have been pondering the question of WHAT constitutes prayer? So many times I put this certain quiet time of being on my knees and talking to God and listening….but He has met with me in so many unique ways….outside of the box so many times I draw around a “prayer time.”
    Guess i don’t know a balance, but I do believe I have recently found a new freedom in how I approach my time with the Lord in intimacy and the many different ways to pray…..none of this may make a bit of sense…. 🙂

  42. 42
    Leah Adams says:

    Oh mercy, this is one issue that I have wrestled over in my walk. I have been in the place where I felt ‘less than’ because I did not spend a set amount of time in prayer. Thankfully, I’m not there any longer.

    I’m not sure I can really express what my prayer life is like. Jesus and I exercise together…either walking or swimming…and I do most of my formal praying during that time. My prayers are a mix of intercession for others and prayer for myself. If I am in a particularly needy mood, then the prayers for myself may be a bit more involved. I like praying for others…in fact, I believe that it is part of the ministry that God has assigned to me. As I have matured in my faith, I find that most of my prayers for myself are for wisdom and a good cleaning out of my heart…asking Him to show me any dirt that needs to go so that He and I can walk intimately. I almost always pray Romans 12: 1-2 for myself. I’m just so thankful He listens and does not put up a “Quiet” sign.

  43. 43
    Deb K. says:

    Beth – basically what God keeps bringing me back to is FIRST just be still and ASK HIM to fill me with Himself. It is a wierd feeling because sometimes I almost fall back asleep because the peacefulness is amazing. Then I go to His Word and maybe journal. Some time in prayer but not much. But the filling up (I believe) set the stage for a day filled with prayer all through it for all things He brings to me. “Cease striving and know that I am God”.
    Deb K.

  44. 44
    Amy Beth says:

    I’m in my mid to late twenties and, one of the most helpful things I’ve ever done, is literally go straight from my twin bed to my knees. Basically, my alarm goes off, I hit it and then I tumble out of bed onto my knees. It’s not a legalistic thing where I believe my very first action of the day has to be prayer. It’s just a good healthy reminder of what comes FIRST in my day. I’m 26, a foster mother to a three year old boy, 14 year old girl and 17 year old girl with a full time job at a university, a part-time teaching job at the university and a budding photography business. If I DON’T make it a point TO MAKE HIM FIRST, it just doesn’t happen.

    Ironically, becoming a foster parent has refined my relationship with God more than anything I’ve ever done. There is nothing like having hurting teenage girls sleeping down the hall to bring you to your knees. When you’ve got teenage girls living with you, you cannot just talk the talk. They see straight through the phony. Either I live what I’m saying or I had better shut up. I want them to see me living it — the good parts and the hard parts. I think that’s what they’re looking for — the real.

  45. 45
    Rosie says:

    Hi Beth,
    I have to make an effort and get up about 5:30, but Iam rewarded. This morning the sunrise was the darkest pink and the sound of the birds all waking up I love it! I like to journal my prayers. I love journals(whenever I see a cute one I’ll buy it) so I have a prayer journal for everyday concerns for people at work or church, what is going on around my city or state or world, kind of general. I have one just to write God thank yous for all He does. Then I have a very personal prayer journal for when I feel the need to pray for family members, friends, myself, or something very dear to me. I start with a daily devotional and that will get me in His Word then I just go from there. God will lead me to what I should be concerned with that day. Prayer should not be stressful, it may get intense at times but at the end you should have a peace. Just listen He will talk to you. Pour another cup of coffee sit back listen to the birds toss the ball to the dog and enjoy the sunrise. Or hurry up and get dressed your’e late for work!!!
    Thats what I do. Love reading the blog too.

    Love you,
    Rosie

  46. 46
    Judy says:

    Beth,
    I am so glad you asked this. Prayer time has been on my mind a lot lately. I am a teacher and a few years ago I put together a prayer binder similar to one that Lisa Whelchel wrote a book about I think. Each day you pray for specific things for people in your family and friends and quote scripture about that prayer. I then added my students but am several years behind in putting them in the binder. I hope to work on that this summer and get caught up. One section was for your husband and since I am not married I added a section for my “future” husband and have been praying for him for a while now.

  47. 47
    Colette says:

    I begin my mornings with thanking God for everything in my life! And then I pray The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I try to visualize each passage. Then the Holy Spirit reminds me of specific prayers and I am usually praying for others instead of myself and my family. But I know God knows my heart and my needs. I do hair so I have a very close relationship with everyone I come into contact with so while I am shampooing their hair I silently pray for God to bless them. Anytime the Holy Spirit reminds me of someone I say Lord Bless them! You know what they need!! I also have a list of people and specific prayers and love to see when prayers get answered!! I too have had a rough past few months and have really had to press into God and prayer more than I can ever remember but God is showing me that I am learning to trust him more! I talk to Him all day long!! I could not get through the day without Him!! Oh and my scripture memory verses are really helping me to trust God more too! His word never fails!!! 🙂
    Thanks Beth, you are helping me in my walk with our Lord!!

  48. 48
    Kristi says:

    I am worried to death about the health of my prayer life for this Summer. At the moment things are going good. However, I am a college student who is about to begin fast pace, time consuming Summer classes. It is my ernest prayer that I can keep the balance and stay on top of everything. I always want to put God first, and the rest will fall into place.

  49. 49

    mama beth-
    As usual, I am saying ” really” Lord to this post, because
    I am struggling with this very thing right now.
    I was telling my friend earlier today that I used to be such
    a committed to pray girl. So much so that I would write to God
    in my prayer journal even during class in school, and I could find
    myself praying for up to 6 hrs a day, just because I knew God had
    placed it on my heart. And I’ve seen so many miracles through
    those times.
    But I told my friend that I am just not as honest with God as I used to be.
    And He has given me so much more favor then I could imagine.
    So I would say how I am trying to work through this is meeting
    with a friend to pray once a week. It helps me to say things to God
    that for some reason I find hard to tell Him myself.
    I feel like such a rebel though. I know I should be able to talk to
    Him about everything. But I’ve just been more quiet.
    So I’ll share and push myself to pray along side of all of you
    with this. Even in my fragile heart I still know
    He is God.

    Xoxo
    Ang

  50. 50
    Alissa says:

    Wow, prayer..what a great thing we have to be able to talk to our Father in heaven. For me my prayers continue throughout the day as people or concerns or thanksgiving etc.. come to mind. I also love to sit down and write my prayers out. God is so good. It is very powerful to write out prayers. I do find that my prayer life is most developed through crisis in my own personal life. Sometimes, though, I will be asked to pray for someone specifically and that too can be quite powerful. Depending on the situation, I love to pray out loud as it gives me more faith. Just yesterday, I was faced with something really hard. I had just been to the conference in Minneapolis, which was life transforming. I came home feeling empowered to make changes in my life. Shortly after I arrived home I faced a real hardship, one that potentially sucks the life out of me. I lay in bed depressed and told God out loud that I was depressed and was not sure how to go on but knew that He would bring me out of it by the next day. Sure enough my Spirit was lifted the next day. I love how my hope can come from past hardship. Looking back in my life and seeing the work that has been done and knowing it will be done again. Jesus is our redeemer. Prayer journaling is so incredible because I can always look back and see how God works; in my life and others around me. God is so good. I had a baby as a teenager, married a divorced father, so we have a blended family and have faced other hardships as well. God has really taught me to pray and talk to Him through all my challenges and it can be any time and sometimes more intimate in my quiet time. Jesus is the ultimate counsellor. I am so thankful. The bible has a lot to say about prayer but I especially love James 5:16 “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” I truly believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts on how to pray and what to pray for.
    By the way Beth, if you do read this, I want to thank you for the “untangled” conference this past weekend. I rally appreciate how real you are and humble. As I walked into the church, I felt so emotional. God was gloryfied. Thanks…

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