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.Β  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 andΒ  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.Β  He meets us where we are.Β  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. 101
    Bobbi says:

    I have been struggling with my prayer life. My problem is that prayer requests come in the form of bad news and sometimes I am just so overwhelmed with all the bad news. I get depressed just reading the prayer requests but sitting here typing this He is telling me that it is not for me to shoulder, that once I give them to Him my weight will be lifted. Maybe I have tried to hold on to my prayers too tightly and have not let go for Him to take them from me.

    Sometimes I pray over the Word until my tears wet the pages, sometimes I pray while walking around the block, sometimes I pray while I drive, sometimes I pray myself to sleep at night. I don’t really have a formula and thankfully my God does not require one.

  2. 102
    Church Lady says:

    This is a great topic. This is something that I have been thinking about lately. Sometimes I feel that I get to self absorbed in my prayer life(help me, fix me, heal me). Is that wrong? Then other times I feel as if I am hiding my true feelings from the Lord, in prayer (let’s talk about everyone else, besides me). It seems like a hard balance sometimes.

  3. 103
    Brandi R. says:

    I am holding my 4 month old as I type this- and my other two are -praise the Lord- asleep! My only “alone” time is in the shower so I pray my guts out in the shower…and find myself feeling inadequate even in that. The Awesome Lord of all creation deserves more of me than my multitasking heart/mind but it is just so hard with 3 little ones (My hat goes off to those of you with more!) Otherwise my prayers are short and through out the day. However, recently with the enormity of needs I have found myself standing there quiet- unable to utter words. He is so tender, so genuine and I am reminded that even when I don’t have words He knows the utterances of my heart.
    I have goals of setting aside specific prayer times – and am sighing a huge sigh of relief knowing I am not the only one who semi- schedules prayer lists (a hallelujah inserted here!)… I just haven’t been able to implement said plans due … yet. πŸ˜‰

  4. 104
    Betty M says:

    Beth,
    I so wish I could talk to you one on one. I saw you in Mpls last week or rather I, woulda seen you had I had binoculars!!!! It did not turn out like I had hoped but oh, well! On prayer life, I find distractability a big problem sometimes so I journal my prayers at times and boy is it fun to look back on them down the road. Times of great crisis (which is the root word of opportunity) come up and I see my heart just raw with pleading to the dear Lord. Like when my sister stole my inheritance and talked my father who was deep into dementia to press charges against me for getting some things of sentimental value from his house when he actually signed a document allowing me to do so! Then later, upon urging by my sister,he gave all the inheritance to my sister and left me with $10! I was jailed a night even and the judge placed a restraining order on me so I never had another chance to ask my father, whom I loved deeply, why he did that as he died before the charges could be dropped. It was those days I just cried out to the Lord WHY? He taught me about forgiviness those days I see it now in my journaling. I can truly say I still love my sister very much and I can see how the bread that was sweet to her lips has turned to gravel in her mouth as a Proverb states. I pray for her daily. I don’t have an actual itenerary I follow each AM when I pray I just leave it up to what the Lord lays on my heart. I try to have an outline of praise,praying His Word, intercessary etc but do not worry if I don’t have every single piece in every single prayer. I can sense that God has an idea what I am trying to say before I even form the thought in my head so I don’t worry about if every thing makes perfect sense. He understands and that is all that matters. ANOTHER THING I have learned is to thank Him for answers to prayers as I pray them. This is a faith lesson that I truly believe Him for the answers. We were stuck in a deadly snow storm one winter and could not move with our 4 wheel drive pickup truck and there is no earthly reason why this should have worked but I started praying that God would move those wheels and my son put the pickup in a lower gear and all of a sudden it started moving and I kept praying a prayer of thanksgiving before the wheels even turned and we got home safely!! I have seen many miracles in our family like that. Our son had a deadly leukemia as a 9 yr old and became one of Mayo clinics first survivors of B cell leukemia many years ago now. I have seen many miracles in our family and I praise God becuase I believe they were answered as they were because He gave us the faith to believe Him for the miracles. Praise Him!!!! Hugs from the Heartland, Betty M

    • 104.1
      Beth says:

      Oh my gracious, Betty, what a testimony you have! There has been a war going on over your life, young lady, but Jesus is the Victor. Keep that head of yours up and God will continue to be the radiance on your face. I’m so blessed to have served you last weekend.

      • Betty M says:

        Beth, though I would consider this a total miracle and do not expect any answer I have to tell you. When my mother died 15 yrs ago now, I, probably due to this hormonal thing you get in your 50’s you are too young for this!!!!!! I went through mood swings like you would not believe! I was diagnosed as being bipolar. I have been on every antidepressant out there and many antipsychotic drugs and the more I took these the worse I got. Our neighbor gals started a Bible study 5 yrs ago and it was the last year I got introduced to your studies and they have ignited a passion for the Word I have never had before. I need you to know that God is using you in miraculous ways. I, through studying the Word more, and deveolping a real passion for the Lord, have since thrown all my pills away! Was I incorrectly diagnosed? I will never know. Now, I have been in the medical field all my life and I do not feel that God limits Himself in how He heals but I can tell you I have learned that only He can fill my empty cup like you told me in your Extraordinary Women CD. My psychiatrist says he has never seen this happen quite like this before and every time I go in he says how impressed he is. He says I show no sign of being manic either. I AM FREE! HE, GOD, has made me FREE!!!! I wanted to shout it from the roof tops of Grace church last Fri eve but did not wana look like a lunatic! Was there a full moon???There has just been something about the way God uses your personality that really hits me right in the heart. I just hope I can meet you some day in person. I know I will at Jesus feet but here would be nice too!! Will I succumb to the depression at some point in time again??? Possibly but God will see me through cuz I am gona hold tight to His right hand and I am gona fight like satan has never seen any one fight!!! Keep up the good work God is really using you!! By the way I turn 62 and get my first social security check next month!!!!!I am a young lady! I have millions more years to live!!!!

  5. 105
    Brandi says:

    Pray intercessory kinds of things mostly. I pray for a certain situation or person until I feel God releasing me from it, sometimes long and sometimes little, feels like a transfer of the burden.

    Try to remember to tell God often how great I think He is, giving Him praise He is due.

    Mostly pray for myself when I don’t know what to do, or when I detect or flat out know that something is wrong or twisted in my thinking or attitude.
    convicted lately of sending everyone else to Him, but not spending much time there myself. Almost like relying on my faith and what I know about Him, rather than Jesus Himself. Foolish I know.

  6. 106
    lisa smith says:

    I’m feeling convicted, confirmed and inspired as I read this post. I’m a crazy mom trying to pray through my list for me and those I love and those who are hurting every morning and most days still trying to finish it as I fall into bed at night. i must be the neediest person alive because I pray for God to transform me so much. I.need.Him. I am looking for new ways to work intercession into my life. I feel God nudging me to take my children on prayer walks around their respective schools this summer. I’ll keep you posted πŸ™‚

    In college I started asking God to turn my thoughts into prayers. I don’t hardly think a thought anymore without addressing God first–even the sinful ones. When I search for my keys or phone, it’s more of a conversation with God, “God, you find all lost things, especially people like Joe, Sarah and Sue. Please help me find my keys and them too. Please. Please. Please.” I have several situations throughout the day that I use as reminders to intercede. Like realizing I desperately need gas in my car and trying to remind myself not to forget stuff. It’s a little quirky but it works.

    I pray when I run too. Lots.

  7. 107
    Rickie says:

    Elaine, God bless you. I prayed for you sister.

  8. 108
    Tink says:

    <3 this topic conversation Dear Beth and Siestas! Reading all of the posts was so much fun, thankfully there were not yet 600 posts to read. πŸ˜‰
    I will mention one of my favorite intercessory and self prayer tools since no one has brought it up yet…sit down cuz it is a super spiritual one — my telephone!!

    When I feel pressed to intercede for something or am filled with anger or fear for some reason and it is not the middle of the night, I call one of my closest friends and ask her if she has a time to pray with me or over me. I can not recall how our first prayer time came about but I know it had to do with one of our children. We have been praying like this together for many years now and not one time that I have called her or her me, have we been too busy or unable to pray with each other.

    What a blessing prayer is!

  9. 109
    Sherry says:

    This is probably covered in Prayer 101, and at 64 I feel like I should have learned it long ago, but I’m excited and thought it might help someone. I had always struggled with the adoration part of prayer, not really sure how it differed from thanksgiving. Then a lady in our Bible study who says she “couldn’t possibly pray out loud” said that she learned once in a study to begin her personal prayers with various names for God. Beginning my prayers now telling the Lord that he is my Refuge, my Fortress, my Strength, my Counselor, my Shepherd, my Rock, my Redeemer and always thinking of other things that he is to me has really blessed my prayer time.

  10. 110
    Kim B. in Az says:

    Prayer is such a weak area for me. I mean I have been so inconsistent with it. Lately I have mostly been praying for me. Not that there aren’t more pressing things out there. So balance is something I need. I find myself whining to God and then being convicted when I think about the Israelites in the wilderness. I, like you, long to have a deep, deep relationship with God. He has put this family of mine through the paces this year. I am not going to lie it has not been easy, but I want to be one in a million. Hmmm just not sure how to proceed sometimes. We have been blessed so much and yet I find myself worrying about things that only God can take care of. So prayer is what is the key and praying for other some or much of the time I think is part of the answer. I mean it is what helps to bring it all into perspective. I have one question though. When things are hard for a long time is it wrong to spend extra amounts of time praying for ones self and family, or is that just to self absorbed? Just wondering. Anyway, not sure this post helps you much in answering your question. Have a wonderful rest of the week.

  11. 111
    Rhonda McClellan says:

    Dear Beth,

    I love that you ask us questions that lead us to self-introspection and accountability. I am in love with God’s Word. His Word is life and healing. I talk to Jesus throughout the day and I praise Him as I worship in song or as I find myself in awe over clouds, sunsets, and creation; however, I am not disciplined in a certain time of day that I pray. My mom is a prayer warrior and I’m so thankful for her example and for her prayers for so many people. I know there is power in prayer and intimacy in conversation with God. Your post is a wake-up call to be purposeful about my prayer life, as well as spontaneous. Speaking of wake-up calls, when I cannot sleep, rather than lie in the bed counting sheep or “thinking about stuff”, I pray. You might say I pray myself to sleep. πŸ™‚ “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to the Lord until I go to sleep.” Jesus Bless you Siesta Beth. You are a blessing!

  12. 112
    Carol from Coopersburg says:

    Idk. Been praying for decades but have no formula but “as the Spirit leads”. I am constantly praying (talking to God); need to in dealing with people and life.

    Have list also, and think of all the names/people on it each day though don’t always get to the list each day but know God knows every name on the list so ask the Holy Spirit to pray for each and every person on list (and their families, AND their families, etc.) and know God honors these prayers. Most days God directs me to a time to pray for these, it isn’t something i have to figure out-He wants me to do it, i want to do it, He gives me time/space to do it and I am thankful and love Him for this!
    I do not have any special prayer time just for myself, though must ask for forgiveness from my own unrighteousness, regularly, to keep the way between me and Him unfettered. : )

  13. 113
    Laura H says:

    For 20 years I have kept a prayer journal and it’s fun to look back on and see how God came through for me and those I pray for. I recognize my own sin sometimes and how I’ve prayed for anyone else but not for some of my own hangups. I decided that when I get ready to say something that could be a form of gossip or criticism I instead start praying. Praying for the sin in my heart that is prodding my mouth to open and spew out junk. If I still have the burden to speak after I finish praying then I know that Lord wants me to do something or say something in a loving way, not a laura way. 99% of the time the Holy Spirit has revealed to me during that prayer time that I have no business saying or doing what I was going to say and do prior to praying. It has been a tremendous help in saving my lips for praise and prayer not for garbage. Do I make sense, hope it helps

  14. 114
    Dendy says:

    I’m so glad you added your P.S… I have two small children and get distracted so easily. Any kind of Bible study or prayer time I try to have is interrupted and I find myself totally frustrated. I usually pray on the way to work and thru the day, but I don’t feel like its whole hearted most of the times. I work at a hospital and find myself praying mostly for the patients I encounter ( which is an awesome privilege) instead of being truly intimate with my own needs. It makes me feel pretty weighed down.

    • 114.1
      Judy says:

      I’m right there with you. I pray a whole lot more for my patients than my family because during this season of my life I am spending more time with them. But usually mine are still selfish because I’m praying on being more patient with them or how to serve them best. Satan uses that to make me feel guilty for not giving my all to my family.

  15. 115
    Pam says:

    When I get up in the morning one of the things I ALWAYS ask HIM is to lead me in how to pray throughout my day. HE uses all of my senses to lead me as well as what someone may say, I may read, music, HIS WORD, just lots of ways. I do have a prayer notebook w/requests and w/pictures. HE uses pictures to lead me to pray for people too! There are times I just don’t use my notebook and that is alright too. Just means HE has another plan for my prayer time that day.I do talk w/Him about my needs whenever I need and however much I need too.I just talk w/Him naturally.We have sooo much FUN!! HE is my VERY Best Friend!

  16. 116
    Jackie says:

    I have relished the privilege of prayer for decades. I was so validated in Steppin Up that on my knees is an appropriate way to start. Prayer seems to be a “gift” God has given me. The gift of the presence of God and the vision of seeing Him acting in and around my life keeps me praying. I don’t focus on myself (thankfully my husband does. I have a list that is daily segregated for others lost and saved. Operation World changed my view so much I moved to West Africa for 6 years with 4 kids!
    PS God is Hands Free!

  17. 117
    Lynn says:

    Interesting thoughts. Not even sure how to apply them. I have noticed when sharing requests in groups, mine are always so practical and specific. While it seems many other ladies are praying for spiritual qualities, things you cannot imediately touch. I would say there needs to be a mix of both, but I would say I lean toward the former and not the latter.
    Hmmmmm, now ya got me thinking (and confused a bit).

  18. 118
    Becca says:

    The majority of my prayer is done on-demand as situations or thoughts arise. I am a prayer-warrior, but that doesn’t mean it always comes easily. This is an area in which I regularly encounter major spiritual warfare. After literally years of being in a desert in my prayer life (which resulted in a dehydrated spiritual life all over), my main tactic since has been to just keep praying and worshiping, regardless of what form that takes, lest I fall into the trap of not praying at all since I’m not praying “perfectly”. I just press on, whether it be a list of provisions or asking God to speak and being available to listen,or finding genuine thankfulness in that at least my kid threw up at home and not at soccer practice and vocalizing that thankfulness… I just push through the stuff and keep praying in everything without worrying about the “rightness” of it. If I don’t stop, then I’m doing okay.

    Admittedly, I long for a sabbatical of sorts.

    My husband’s life verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18… and I have adopted it in my top 2.

  19. 119
    Sandra says:

    Reading this post, and some of the comments, makes my heart ache. I long for this intimacy with Christ. I want to live, breathe, work, and just be for His glory. Yet my heart is plagued with doubts that prayers don’t go past the ceiling or that they are useless to bring to an all-knowing God. I try to pray, but don’t seem to have words. I do believe that we can do nothing apart from Him or without prayer. Yet I just don’t know how to connect knowing those things in my head, to actually believing them in my heart. I feel as though I am in quicksand- desperately trying to climb out, only to sink in further.
    I did not grow up in a Christian home or in the church, but came to faith a couple of years ago in high school. Prayer just seems unfathomable. MamaBeth- or any other spiritual Mamas reading this- how to I let my heart start to beat with His?

    • 119.1
      Vickie Anderson says:

      Dear Father God, please wrap Your arms of love around Sandra! Show her how much You love her and long to spend time with her, let her know that You can handle all her doubts and fears. Send Your mighty army to help her, and banish the enemy’s attempts to keep her from enjoying all the peace and freedom she can have in You. Send someone to come along side Sandra who will encourage her on her faith journey with You. In Jesus’ precious Name, amen.

  20. 120
    Shaunessy says:

    Well dear friend. I get on here often but this is the first note I have left. I needed to hear this right hear and right now. My prayer time is usually in the morning and at night. Sometimes in the car or shower. I need to be better and sometimes feel like even in the times when I am doing well or struggling most I could still be on my knees more. This is good prompting for me. Thank you for letting the journal teach you more and in turn help teach us more. Thank you Beth and more importantly thank you Jesus!!

  21. 121
    Carolyn says:

    Kennesaw, GA
    I have my intimate time with the Lord daily, but it appears I have my deepest conversations with Him when troubles seem to be so overwhelming for friends, family, and career disappointments occur. I have first learn to allow God to speak to me through the scriptpures.
    Yesterday, I felt so disappointed about a decision on a lateral move I wanted to make on my job. I was told that I would not be able to make that move and my heart began to hurt. After talking with my man and few of my close siestas (phone buddies), I was encouraged to listen to God and wait on Him. I ended my night reading Psalms 91, God gave me an answer. Amen

  22. 122
    Casey says:

    I do struggle attempting to find a balance. Trying to get ahead of my kids with quiet time is such a challenge. My other battle is def finding a balance between others prayer needs as well as my own intimate needs. I am very inspired by this post. I am going to reevaluate and try to draw teh line somewhere for my own prayer life. thank you for sparking this thought.

  23. 123
    Sarah Marion says:

    Just like I should put on my own oxygen mask before helping others in a plane incident, I try to do a private Bible study and personal prayer time first thing each day and after that I pray for those in my prayer journal that I have committed to bring before the throne. Without Christ I can do nothing so I really try to fill up my with him first and then help others. Throughout the day I pray for the people that I am interceding for all day long as well.

    I am a homeschooling Mom of three and my kids follow this example of private study and prayer first thing and come along side during the day when we pray together for ourselves and others.

  24. 124
    Sandy says:

    Like others, I needed to read this tonight. (actually, it’s 12:24 a.m. and the computer is in my daughter’s room, and I have to go to work in the morning, so. . .this will be short.)
    Prayer is so important to me, and I am currently in a time when I really need to be spending lots of time praying to him about my own heart condition.
    Many years ago, I read Beth’s book, Whispers of Hope, journaled through it, and continued to use the acronym
    Praise
    Repent
    Acknowledge that God is God
    Intercession
    Supplication
    Equiping (Praying for God to Equip me to minister.)

    I haven’t journaled in a long time. I praying to be follow my 18 year old son’s example of spending hours when he gets up and hours again before he goes to bed praying, reading God’s Word and journaling.

    Don’t have a balance right now, but am praying for others and myself daily.

    Thank you so much, Beth for your ministry to all of us!
    I love you and honestly do pray for you!

  25. 125
    Rhonda says:

    Hey Beth,

    My prayer life sometimes is sketchy, and I feel bad and try to make up for it. I feel guilty, then He just loves me, and says, I’m here. That’s what I love about Jesus. It makes me run into His arms when I’m brokenhearted, when I’m happy and when I’m just dealing with life. He’s such a wonderful friend. He gets me. I love that! So, there’s no disciplined patterned to my prayers. Sometimes it’s on a need basis, other times, it’s just pure love for Him. Hope that makes sense!

  26. 126
    Kara says:

    I pray with my husband each morning (as much as possible) after we read a chapter of the Bible together. We pray for our family mostly at this point and for his business and ministry.

    Then I pray with my six children after we do a devotion together in the morning. We read 1-3 chapters (we’renreading through the Bible together and are in Isaiah now). We pray for over our own walk with God, our hearts towards Him, our serving Him, etc.. and then we pray for all the people we have committed to pray for as a family. And then we pray for our extended family.

    We also do the exact same thing in the evening.

    We also pray EVERY time we get in the car to go somewhere. We pray for safety and then pray for the people we have committed to pray for.

    In the evening when their crawling into bed I like blessing my children with individual prayers over their lives before they go to sleep. I use to do this more often then I do now but I still try to do it as often as I can.

    When I crawl into bed at night I try to read another chapter of the Bible by myself and I pray for me. I don’t write down things b/c it sounds to dramatic on paper. I use to when I was younger and it did read like I was a contributing writer of Psalms. I’m glad to have those writings to look back on but once someone got a hold of them and made fun of me for being so “dramatic”, so I wasn’t so keen to journal my heart anymore. For who can know the spirit of a man other than the man himself?

  27. 127
    Pamela Payne says:

    This is such a good question. I gave it some deep thought after reading your post and the truth is that we all struggle with balance in our lives, don’t we? We are in different seasons and have different things up in the air as we juggle our way through, but don’t we all want to give our heavenly Father the most precious of our time and praise. He needs time with us to clean out the cobwebs we get tangled in. He needs time to purify our hearts. But, as we are also called to be intercessors, that must be part of what we do for each other. I covet the prayers of my sisters when the trials come. They hold me up. We were created to bring God glory and prayer does that. I believe prayer is the most beautiful gift God gave us. So in trying to balance the stuff of life, I often ask Him to put on my heart the people or situations He wants me to pray for. Then, it is usually in the quiet moments right before the sun rises that He gently wakes me and answers. In those moments I have the presence of the Holy Spirit beside me and feel the love of my heavenly Father. The time is precious and full of peace.

  28. 128

    I have learned as a mother if I don’t take care of myself, I really can’t take care of my family. My time with the Lord that is just me before him, helps keep me healthy and focused . It is something I need to stay centered with Christ.

  29. 129

    I pray throughout the day for whatever I feel needs prayer and I also pray more in a more focused fashion during my quiet time with Him each day, as well.

    I am trying to be more disciplined, though, in writing my prayers at least during my quiet time so I can really focus and not just spout off requests.

    I’m also trying to work harder at building in listening time where I try to quiet me and my requests and do my best to listen to Him. I’ll often set a timer for this one and just listen. Sounds easy, but it can be a challenge!

  30. 130
    Holly says:

    I’ve got a little one, yes just one. I know some of you have cared for a lot more and I have no clue how. My prayer life these days mostly consists of “Please let this boy fall asleep” and “Thank you for this sweet boy” Sometimes I utter a little something for a someone having tough times or pray through my memory verse. The reality for me right now is being constantly interrupted at any task. It takes 3 times as long to do anything because every time I get interrupted I have to rethink what I was doing to begin with. Even sitting here writing this I had to stop and go retrieve something for the boy that had rolled under the cabinets. But the smile on his face when I got it out… just precious. For now, I’m just trying to be content with knowing that I will never start a prayer or Bible reading without getting a chance in the middle to live out love for my 14 month old.

    • 130.1
      Beth says:

      Holly, you are so precious. Christ is as close as the heart that beats in your chest and the breath that comes from your lungs.

  31. 131
    Robin says:

    I sometimes get excited about prayer when I remember to ‘pray without ceasing’… talking to God as if He is right next to me all day long. The result of that is to make me feel as if I am truly abiding in Him. It also keeps me in the mindset to intercede…

  32. 132
    Janel says:

    This post is so right where I am! I struggle so to pray at all – I mean a concentrated, focused prayer time. I pray through my day, little snatches of prayer, but I don’t sit down (kneel down, lie down, etc..)with my Father and just be. This past Sunday my pastor talked about how we try and try harder in our own strength to do things and we end up being “soulish” instead of asking for (and relying on) the Holy Spirit to empower us. It was a great perspective change for me! I’m learning to ask Him to help me and to lead me, and let Him keep me in balance. I just can’t do it on my own.

  33. 133
    Debbie says:

    Have you read Jill Briscoe’s (small) books ‘Garden of Grace’ and ‘God’s Front Door’? If not, get ’em! They deal beautifully with intimacy with Jesus. All about talking to Jesus on the steps of your soul!

  34. 134
    Warm in Alaska says:

    In my life I’ve found “balance” is based on relationship. Your query made me think about how it is I pray, b/c really for me it’s so much conversational. My intention always remains the same (not to say that it’s realized every day – and the days where it’s not — I just am thankful I have tomorrow — because if there’s something I don’t want to do, it’s walk with a condemned mind – even just a little. It kills me faster than anything), I simply sit with the Lord, the Word, and my notebook and just spend time with Him. Then later, whatever specific requests I have seem to flow on their own.

    I had a funny little conversation with the Lord years ago. I was trying to gauge which “gifts of the Spirit” were operational in this time that He and I spend together. I was thinking, “Lord, is it 25% word of knowledge; and 30% word of wisdom; and 40% prophetic, etc., blah, blah, blah” – Because I genuinely was trying to “figure it out” and I’ve found so often when we’re taught about the Holy Spirit and His gifts and fruit – it can feel formulaic. All of a sudden I really sensed the Lord seem to say, “It’s a friendship, Carolyn. It’s a friendship.” – and, (wanting to make sure I communicate this appropriately) it sure felt like there was a weariness in His voice when He spoke this to me. It made me think: what would it be like if my best friends were always trying to analyze my friendship with them? It would feel unnatural and neurotic – and weirdly needy. I’m not suggesting that the Lord feels this way towards us, of course, but this little snippet of a conversation let me know I needed to simply focus on approaching and enjoying the Lord for Who He is: my truest, dearest, most fun Friend.

    From the time I invest in my friendship with Him flow the specific requests I have. Also, two other time tested tips I’ve discovered for myself in my prayer life: if I’m feeling stagnant or distant or uninterested in spending time with the Lord; I’ll do one of two things. 1) Read the book of Hebrews straight through, outloud. This takes about an hour. It has never failed to “plow up my heart” and draw me back to wanting to spend time with Him; or 2) I’ll sit down for as much time as I can grab – even if it’s only a few minutes, and will sing through one of my old church hymnals. This also always produces a melted heart (and is one reason I wallpapered the main hallway in my house with hundreds of songs from a beloved old hymnal).

    Those are the things that work for me. I think it’s good for each of us to know something tried and true we can use to jump start us if we need a jump start – kind of like carrying cables in your car – or is that only something we do in Alaska? The cables, I mean – ?

    Sorry. I really was trying to “think succinct” but instead you got a “dose of verbose.”

  35. 135
    Kim says:

    Oh my! There are so many things I both want and NEED to say regarding this, please.

    Spending time in prayer is truly one of the greatest joys in my life and yet, it is also one of the most challenging. To pray for others and to be able to cover loved ones, as well as strangers in prayer, it is empowering. It takes you to a place of stronger faith. Witnessing God’s supernatural power to answer prayers on behalf of others…whoo!

    Now, prayer for myself…that is harder. I can do it. I do it. But there are times that it becomes stale. Habitual. Dry. It lacks freshness. It’s like ebbs and flows. I often cry out to God, cry on my husband’s shoulder and sit quietly crying to myself about my “cereal box” seasons. The truth is life responsibilities are only part of the reason for these dry periods. God help me, I know a large part of my dry seasons has to do with my personal choices.

    It’s like watching myself in a movie. Fire (prayers for others) and ice (re: self; actually, let me say melting ice b/c I do rev up at times).

    I’m presently on a pilgrimage through the book of Psalm. That’s helped tremendously. Journaling and praying unto God…I can’t find the words. He keeps repeating His love for me and showing me that He rescues me b/c He delights in me. πŸ™ This represents me crying.) You see, all this that I’m sharing brings me to a point of revelation that God is divinely dealing with me on. Get ready – the lack of prayer consistency re: myself has to do with shame. I won’t go into details, but, Beth, your story tells mine.

    Lastly, three people have covered me in prayer over this dry season. They have personally called me and/or held my hands and PRAYED the heavens down! Their prayers, just like their religious/spiritual backgrounds are so difeerent from mine, but when I tell you that I have been rocked by the intensely radical prayers offered up by each person on my behalf… All I can do after the prayers is lift my voice in praise to God, fall on my knees and worship, and then pray like there was no tomorrow. Full circle. Glory to God! God sandblasted the shame. He rescued me and still, He rescues me.

    Sometimes, prayer with others is just as important as prayer for self. I look at the prayer life and practices of Jesus. It encompassed much. Was it balanced? Hmmm. Yes, for sure! But more than that, it was intimate. Maybe that’s what needs emphasis in the crazy, day-to-day, topsy turvy thing we call life. For me, I stopped looking for balance. It’s in the imbalance that I cry out most, from the depths of my heart. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise You LORD!

    Forgive me for the length of this response/testimony/praise report/encouragement. I had to share. Thank you soooooo much for this, Siesta Mama. I love you so much and I am grateful to God that this community exists and that your message and messages motivate me (and others) to move closer to God and to be more real with myself (ourselves).

    Be encouraged, Siesta sisters. God sees us, He hears us, He delights in us (even when we don’t know what to say) ,and He will rescue us every single time (no matter what we are dealing with or have to face). Cry out to Him!

    Hugs and Love to All in Christ Jesus, our LORD!

    • 135.1
      Kim says:

      So as not to be a stumbling block to others, I would like to clarify and say that the three people who prayed for me traveled different spiritual paths, but they ended up at the feet of Jesus. They have accepted Jesus as the Christ and the One and Only Savior of all.

  36. 136
    Living4Him says:

    What a great idea to have a day or 2 for just the Lord and I. I use a prayer notebook and think you have reminded me that I sometimes get a bit to structured in my early morning prayer times. Balance, as in everything, in the perfect answer!!

  37. 137
    June Brown, West Yorkshire, UK. says:

    Talk about a word in season from Beth. My prayer life, so personal and precious, but sometimes so dry and formulaic I have wondered what was the point sometimes..I haven’t felt like I’m getting through at all. I tried hard to have a ‘Day Plan’, and wrote out ‘what’ and ‘when’ during the day this would all happen. Day One didn’t even get off the ground! In the last few weeks I have started an online journal(free @ Penzu.com)and like many of the siestas above who also journal, something much more powerful has evolved. So from random thoughts, worldly musings on people and events and ‘to-do’ lists that started the journal, it has now become a deep reflection on the scriptures I’ve studied that day and an ongoing, even intense, dialogue with God. It just happend, I didn’t even realise what was happening! It has replaced that tension caused by trying to keep my thoughts and prayers on track, eyes closed, hands together, desperately trying to shut out the world whilst I got in touch with Him! I thought I was the only one who had found an alternative way to communicate, and wondered if it could possibly be acceptable to Him that I did it this way….so Mama Beth, you have opened the lid on my silly fears and let them dissipate into thin air….and so thank you again for your wisdom words, and blessings on all the girls who have shared their touching experiences of prayer.I am SO grateful that you do.

  38. 138
    Marylou says:

    I shocked this morning when I read the subject of your Blog, Beth… I have been getting up very early every morning to get into God’s word and Pray. By the time I get to Prayer, my mind starts wandering, and I keep falling to sleep. I keep trying to wake up and get back on the subject, and I finally give up that is for the time being. (I have an ANNOUNCEMENT to make!) Satan has something to do with this Prayer issue. He HATES it when we pray and will do whatever it takes to STOP us!! I’ve been struggling with praying for quite a while now, and now I see I’m not alone. I believe it’s the end of times, and he’s getting desparate to distroy us! (The Lord knows all about this, and He will be Victorious!) I try to keep my mind in the praying mode all day long, and ask the Holy Spirit to lead me into What to pray no matter what I’m doing. He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL!

  39. 139
    Casey says:

    Wow, I have struggled and struggled with this very thing since my first child was born 6 years ago.I have often felt like I failed for not being able to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning. Thank you so much for including the P.S. and reminding me that God meets me where I am. What a blessing I have found in Siestaville!

  40. 140
    Angie Cortes says:

    Beth, I’ve struggled with prayer all my life. As a little girl I remember being forced to sit for what seemed to an 8 year old like forever to pray and I grew to hate being still for that long. As I’ve matured (43 yrs old) I have learned how to take me time to spend time in Bible study or reading my devotional. However, I have not learned to be prayerful. I really struggle with that part of my life. When I think of people in need I pray for them but I don’t usually ask for anything for myself because I have felt that that is selfish. In this season of my life I have been trying to get closer to God and maybe this is the reason I feel I am not closer to him. I am not prayerful. Thank you for bringing this topic up and letting me freely express myself but where do I go from here? How do I begin to fix it? Where do I start? What shall I do?

  41. 141
    Diana says:

    this discussion has encouraged me so much. I feared that I was alone in this struggle. But I am so encouraged to read that that is not true. I recently began trying set prayer time. 4 times a day I stop (mentally) and try to refocus my thoughts and energies on God. Here is the mid day prayer…..

    God of mercy, this midday moment of rest is your welcome gift. Bless the work we have begun, make good its defects, and let us finish it in a way that pleases you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    I am a long way from balanced but with God’s help I pray that I will get there.

  42. 142
    flip flops says:

    Wow! I am going through some major thinking and asking the Lord about my prayer life. And you write this! Isn’t God so good?
    I get up in the morning and spend it just Him and me in His Word, I pray as am lead by Him during my reading.
    I am just feeling the need to pray more and more for others and things going on in this world, but don’t know how to get it all together…..I want to pray at all times and about all things.
    I am looking forward to what you siestas will share here and seeing what God will do in my life in this area.
    Love you Beth and the staff and all you siestas!

  43. 143
    Estina says:

    Prayer is often the most trying discipline for me because I often find myself without words or stumped as to what to pray. Thank God He knows my thoughts afar off and my heart, and that His word makes up for what I can’t speak with my lips. BUT I must say, writing is my strength. It’s strange how I can’t seem to say what I need to say audibly, but give me a pen and I can “talk” for pages on end. So that’s how I commune with God – in my journal; my most secret place. I still, though, would like to learn how to speak in prayer without fear of repercussion or whether it sounds right. I long for God as the deer pants after the water brook.

  44. 144
    Amie says:

    I am so struggling with this right now since I am home on short term disability. When I worked I was in traffic for so much of the time that prayer was so natural and God spoke to me often in those hours. Now, when I have all the time in the world to pray, I find I am not praying as much, mostly when God brings someone to mind I stop and pray! That is not even close to a balance nor does it make sense. On the other hand, having the time now to really dig into His Word and effectively pray maybe scares me a little as I have questioned myself before if God really turned me loose on the unsuspecting people in my midst what really would happen? Is that desire that God effectively use me and “start now, don’t wait” really my hearts desire? I am really struggling and sure wishing I had a Bible study to attend during the week!

  45. 145
    Laura says:

    A little devotional book titled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young has significantly improved my ability to focus on intimacy with Jesus. The short, daily readings are perfect for busy moms and caretakers, especially if you’ve not been accustomed to this kind of one-on-one relationship with the Lord. I have recommended this book to so many friends who have been deeply impacted by its very personal messages. Put it in your nighstand or in your bathroom if you need to to make sure that you pause for your own moment alone with HIM.

  46. 146
    Janee says:

    I struggle here….not only do I not spend enough ‘personal’ time with Jesus, I have stopped journaling because I felt it was not personal enough. I’m in a temporary season where I will not survive without His strength every day, and sometimes every hour. Yet, in my exhaustion, I have not been praying. I look forward to the responses ….. I need not only to return. To journaling but to prayer for me and for others. I hope to find that balance.

    Thank you Beth…..you always know just what to say……

  47. 147
    Michelle says:

    My entire work/home life is out of balance right now, and that includes Bible study and structured prayer time, as well. Realistically, what I usually do is try to keep the line of communication with God open as much as I can during the day. I tell Him good morning. I visit with Him during the day at my desk. I pray a LOT in my car. Most of the time when I’m driving home from work I am so sick-n-tired of the day’s stresses that I turn off the radio & just BE with God. That’s when I am most likely to praise Him for the beautiful blue sky He painted for me that day, or the special way the sun shines through a cloud, or a double rainbow, that I just KNOW He hoped I would notice!! We share some very special time that way. He’s just part of my normal daily conversation, just like with my daughter & husband.

  48. 148
    Sarah Stinnett says:

    My time with the Lord is focused mostly on our relationship – most of my intercession is sprinkled throughout the day – I really try to pray for people as I see them or as they come to mind. Of course there are specifics I pray for daily – my unbelieving family, illness – ect.

  49. 149
    Beverly Schlomann says:

    I smiled when I read the P.S. — when I read the post, I could hear that nagging voice in my head, “see Bev, you don’t pray like you used too, bad girl. . .”
    I’m not a mom of a toddler or elderly parents; I’m battling cancer and other health issues AND grandmom of a daughter who just had a baby just 19 months after another baby! So, my prayer life doesn’t look like the focused, in-my-prayer-room time that it did a year ago.
    However, as I have begged God to keep my ears open to hear Him in my daily reading of the Word, HE HAS! and He and I talk our way through the Scriptures. Whether it is a verse that my pastor(s) need, or intercession for family members, or a thank you for nourishing my heart with this verse, I have found that my prayer life has turned into so much more of His Word than mine. And I’m ok with that. . .
    Scripture memory has been providential. When I literally can’t read because of blurry vision or exhaustion, His Word is there, and I can pray and intercede. It’s been humbling to not “do” so much (writing prayers, writing lists, etc.) and be content to rely more on God’s Words than my words. I’ve needed that.

    • 149.1
      Joyce Watson says:

      Beverly,
      My heart goes out to you. God’s Word is the only thing we have to cling to during hard times. He knows what you are going through. I pray He will encourage and bless you in an special way.
      I remember when my mother had cancer and she ask us to gather around her bed to pray. She went through so much, but I know she cared and loved others. Her life touched so many people, even the nurses in the hospital talked about how she touched their lives.
      You are a blessing, Beverly! I know those grandkids feel your love for them. Thank you for your post.

  50. 150
    Kim says:

    Oh how this post talked to me. I struggle with my prayer life all the time. I know it’s one of the most important parts of having a relationship with God and yet it is so hard for me to do. I constantly ask myself how I can do this better because I don’t feel I do it well. And for the last year or so I’ve felt so disconnected with God. I have not felt His presence or guidance. I keep praying and feel nothing so I wonder what it is I’m doing wrong. I have tried short prayers, long prayers, written prayers, begging prayers, happy prayers, intercessory prayers and no prayer at all and yet He is silent. Yes I’m in a valley and struggling but I keep praying. I pray that this is a time of preparation for me for the next step on the journey though I often ask Him to step up the pace. I just long to feel Him because then I know there is hope. When you feel Him with you you can have hope that what you’re going through will pass. But when you don’t you wonder if it will ever end.

    So yes – I have always struggled with prayer. Always wondered if I was doing it right and saying the right things. Thank you for the post. I think it gives me hope that there is no right or wrong way.

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