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. 151
    Jeanie says:

    At this season of life (SAHM but with college/highschool kids) I usually have a little more time to devote to prayer. I tend to pray through a prayer notebook that has a page for each family member/extended family, my Compassion kid, daily life situations (church,neighborhood, etc). I pray a section each day but pray for my immediate family every day. It is probably too systematic for most people but I like doing it that way. Of course if the Lord brings to mind something out of order, I pray it. I’m not that regimented. I still use the good old ACTS acronym to pray (Adore/Confess/Thanksgiving/Supplication). After I pray the day, I usually use a wonderful book to pray liturgically and then read my Bible and perhaps journal what I’ve read but I don’t always do that. I attend a prayer group once a week where we pray extendedly for our children. Usually a couple hours at a time between three of us.
    The best part is knowing God uses the extended times and the “hail mary” prayers equally. 🙂

  2. 152
    Jane Smolen says:

    Wow- This has been on my mind, lately too. I start my day with Oswald Chambers and the Word, and pray over the day. I’ve been encouraged by Bonhoeffer’s Praying the Psalms because he makes the assertion that praying the Lord’s Prayer covers all the prayers in the bible, including the Psalms. Being Lutheran, I try to remember to pray in order: but sometimes my heart just pours out praise or petition or confession without the rest. The girls (my 3 daughters) and I pray over our day on the way to school and always end with the Lord’s Prayer. I also rely (RELY) on the promise that the Holy Spirit recognizes our groans that we can’t put into words and intercedes for us to the Father. I think I could have put this thing together better but I haven’t had my coffee yet, Darlings!!
    Love Love Love you all in this community-

  3. 153
    Becky B. says:

    I’m trying to think of my time with our Father as the “first fruits” of my day.
    Something that has worked for me is kinda like a formula and not new but here it is anyway. “ACTS” adoration, confession, thankfulness and supplication. This helps even when writing out my prayers. As for my personal requests, sometimes it’s through out the day as well as the during my quite time.
    Thank you again for keeping me on my toes…or I should say knees.

  4. 154
    Robyn says:

    Beth, my heart aches at the reminder of my intimate moments with my Lord! A year ago, I could spend a couple of hours leisurely loving Him and praying for others. Our oldest daughter and her two small children (1 & 4) moved in after being abandoned by her husband/daddy. We had to move them in with us. I had forgotten how difficult it is to find alone, quiet time with God. Now my devotions come on days that I am blessed enough to have a few minutes in the morning. I pray constantly, but it is almost all in “go” mode. When someone needs prayer, I pray at the moment. My 4 year old Grandson has learned that someone is in need when Grammy stops to pray out loud. He even joins in at times! One day I will have that time again with my Precious God, but for now He is reminding me that these days are short and He has given me tiny blessings to pour Him and myself into. Bless you~

    • 154.1
      Pam says:

      Oh sweet Robyn Your life is a sweet prayer up to the Father in this season. I just pray God just blesses your socks off !!

  5. 155
    Lynell says:

    I have discovered a great time for praise time that works for me. I discovered a book about Christian yoga several years ago and I love to stretch first thing in the morning so I spend about 15 minutes doing simple stretches and yoga positions while repeating my favorite psalms and words of praise describing the Lord. The physical activity keeps me awake while I am focusing on praise. I truly feel like I have spent time with the Lord when I am done.

    • 155.1
      Denise says:

      Lynell, Can you share the name of that book? It sounds like something I’d really benefit from! Thanks 🙂

    • 155.2
      Stine says:

      Lynell, What is the name of the book you found? I have so little time to myself (work (during school hours)- two wonderful school age boys at home, husband in ministry etc etc) that I struggle with time for exercise AND quiet time with God. Doing both at the same time would help me so much! I have looked into Christian yoga classes, but there are none in my area. I would love to find some resources (I am a yoga novice and like the stretching/fitness benefits, but want Christ involved)

  6. 156
    Kelly S says:

    I like to have some praise music going. I have a playlist on my ipod that is appropriate for morning quiet time. Also, for several years now I have used the Debbie Williams prayer journal (you suggested). I LOVE IT! I love keeping a year’s worth of struggles, Scriptures and praises all in the same place.
    Lately, I have been struggling to focus first thing in the morning. Its been an extremely busy month for my family and my to do list creeps in. God has been impressing on me the importance of prayer in so many ways, and He even gave me a group of ladies to pray with from church every other week. I also read this quote from Elisabeth Elliot, “Prayer is the opposite of leisure”. SO TRUE. During this time, I like to pray Isaiah 50. 4 right before I go to bed, asking God to help me focus on Him. I need Him for everything!
    I love your idea of “two mornings”, I think I’ll do that this summer.
    Love you!

  7. 157
    J says:

    My perfectionist personality tends to turn a good thing (prayer, quiet time, etc) into legalism. So for me, granting myself freedom is the best thing. I don’t keep a list, because then I go to checking it off, almost as a chore. If I miss time alone with the Lord for a day or even a few days, I don’t beat myself up.

    I have spent a lot of time reading the Bible for head knowledge in my pursuit of God, that I haven’t let him have my heart. So, right now I think God is leading me to try to put the things I already “know” into practice. I journal and reflect on who I know God to be and ask him to seal that in my heart.

    And I pray for others as I feel the Spirit leads me. If something comes to my mind as a burden, I pray for it right then and move on. I’ve learned that I have to trust the Spirit to prompt my prayer; otherwise it’s just me and my rules, trying to be good enough for God.

  8. 158
    Marti* says:

    My prayer life is just ‘talking’ to the Lord constantly, (pray without ceasing)Who knows me better than HE? I stop and say, “Lord, I am sorry for that thought I just had…but YOU created me and you know how I am!” HE is my best friend at my worst and my best…He STILL loves me…just as I am.I can’t wait to “fit him in” to my schedule, I praise Him all day long..but no matter what, I start my day with Him asking for His grace and mercy…the rest seems to fall in place.

  9. 159
    mary says:

    This has always been a struggle for me as well. I’m not a morning person but by the end of my day, I’m spent from work, kids, family time, church time, etc.

    Some days I just read and journal prayers to Him. Other days I will still myself, invite Holy Spirit to come and wait on Him. Sometimes I see pictures, sometimes He speaks to me and sometimes I just soak and rest.

    But I’m far from having settled into any sort of routine. I like one of the comments above – it’s like a see-saw with one tiny person on one end and one big person on the other – unbalanced.

    But grace. . . .

  10. 160
    Beth says:

    I think this is always a constant struggle for us…the balance of life is always changing which changes our balance of serious prayer time. I just went through, with a group of ladies, Kay Arthur’s “Lord Teach Me To Pray”. That has deepened my prayers so much – it’s so hard just to worship God, without thanking Him, just worship…and what intimacy that brings! For me I have to be mindful of the time I spend on things and careful I don’t get into “woe is me” kind of prayer (that’s so easy sometimes isn’t it?) but whatever is on my heart, it’s there for a reason, whether is people hit by a tornado, family, friends, Siesta’s, youth, whomever. I love the feeling of constantly chasing after Him…what a challenging thing and also exhilarating!

  11. 161
    ginny says:

    This has been my personal experience…I’ve spent alot of years searching for how to spend my quiet time. I’ve read books on it. I’ve come up with formulas for it. I am a journal keeper and have volumes written. I always struggled with the feeling that I could be doing it better or ‘more correctly’…i.e. guilt. More recently, I have learned to let the Spirit lead me. I sit before Him and wait. Some mornings He takes me to the Psalms or Isaiah and I just marvel. Some mornings I can’t get a friend off my heart so I spend the hour on my face for her. This morning I asked Him what He really means by the word ‘righteousness’ and ended up with books piled a mile high from the journey He took me on. His mercies are new each day and I have discovered the incredible adventure that awaits if I just open my heart to Him and let go of my own ideas of what prayer means. He has flung open a window and I am seeing Him as never before with a new-found freedom. He is beyond compare!

  12. 162

    Wow! This is a good topic. And one I’ve given a lot of thought to. I know people who keep very careful prayer journals. they are the ones I go to when I need serious prayer. In fact, I’ve actually felt so condemned because I don’t keep a serious prayer journal.

    But here’s the deal… I realized at some point in the last few years, that I cannot even PRAY until Jesus has thoroughly taken over my heart. When I come to him, my own heart is full of my own “flesh”. I can only whisper his name. The LORD has taught me to come to him, to lean against his chest… to let HIM love me. To let him pray for me, minister to me and as I am there with him, my mouth and my heart begin to speak to him. Intimate speak. Sorrow over sin, regret. Love for him, desire for him. ANd thats where it starts. He pulls me up to his face, he breathes on me. He looks me in the eyeballs. I look back.

    For me, it has to start there. After that, I tell him my list. Things have dramatically changed for me since I started approaching him in that way. I still don’t keep a prayer journal, maybe that’s something that he will have me do in the future. At the moment tho, I just lift people up to him as they come to my mind.

    Heidi

    • 162.1
      Laura says:

      I love, love, love that description of your prayer time! How intimate is that? I don’t think you need a prayer journal because you have the real thing!

  13. 163
    Kate says:

    I struggle with prayer. It seems so overwhelming there is so much to pray about, me, unsaved family members, the state the world is in today, other believers, the list goes on and on. I never feel like I can pray enough so it tends to be short and to the point. I do talk to him throughout the day but is this considered prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. I don’t know how to do this. I want so much to have that intimate relationship with Jesus, I want Him to be the one I talk to first before anyone else. I fall very short!!!

  14. 164
    Susan B. says:

    God is so good! This is what I am struggling with right now. I, too, make time daily for scripture and conversation with God. However, sometimes I write in my journal for days at a time…then it’s months before I pick it up again. I also feel guilty when I forget to pray for those in need. So, this morning I started fresh again with my prayer journal. I also want to develop a list of people to pray for each day to help me remember. I plan to make a prayer list “bookmark” to keep in my bible. It will be a daily refining and refreshing for me.

  15. 165
    Barbara Head says:

    I find it much easier to write down my prayers for other people but extremely difficult to write anything about myself. And I often find myself to be the neediest. I am working on letting myself flow from the paper. I had felt for a long time that God had better things to do than deal with my scrawny neck. I am coming to grips with that and falling on my face more and more for just me and God. He does love me unconditionally.

  16. 166
    Sharon says:

    I love to journal my prayers if I want to really pour out my heart. Something about getting it on paper is so cleansing.
    I love that you help relieve some guilt of this mom of 3 under age 5 by telling us it’s ok to use what time we have to pray.

  17. 167
    Jamie Williams says:

    I pray as I go about my day when things happen or as I think of things that need prayer. I found a Mother Teresa quote about prayer that changed how I pray. She said that prayer did not interrupt life because you are to live life as if it were a prayer. So now I pray for others and myself as I do dishes, fold laundry, drive, or whatever I am doing.

  18. 168
    Valerie says:

    Almost every evening I think about the relationship I want with Jesus and how I need to do my part and spend quality time with Him each day. I always feel filled to the brim when I do. A lot of times I don’t do it and it is a matter of the choices I make–the distractions I allow to fill my day. I know He forgives me but I lose out on the sweetness of my time with Him.

  19. 169
    Deborah says:

    I have to start my day in a quiet, personal moment with God – often starting before I even open my eyes. I love to just say “thank You” and “praise You” in my mind and heart as I awaken! The moment is often brief, but puts me in the right mind-set to begin my day. After getting everyone off to work and school, I have my devotional time which includes prayers of all kinds.

    As the day progresses, I tend to offer up the intercessory prayers of the day. I pray about certain people and situations as they are brought to mind. I am so thankful that I can talk with God about things – at all times! He’s always there and ready!

    My day ends with another devotional and as I drift off to sleep, I thank Him again…for the day, for His love and care, for all the blessings He gives, and most of all for His presence. How great is our God!

  20. 170
    dignity says:

    When I read your post today I could hardly believe you were addressing where I am right now! I am reading a book by Ray C. Stedman, “talking with My Father”, and it is about prayer. There is so much about it that I don’t understand. Like if God knows what is going to happen anyway, why ask him for things? And, does the one with the most friends who are praying get what they ask for? God is answering those questions through this book. He has already showed me that the discouragement I feel in my life has come from prayerlessness. He has showed me that I need to let him clean out all the ugly parts of my heart. The things that no one knows about but Him and me. He is also teaching me how to pray for the needs of the day (give me this day my daily bread). In the last few days I have been driven to my knees by a diagnosis of breast cancer. I have been so filled with fear, that I wonder if I will even be able to function. I am trying to put the “give me this day my daily bread”, into practice. As I went yesterday for a biopsy, I was amased at the peace that I received from my savior. I have tickets to see you in Louisville in June and I know God will minister to me through you, as he already has so many times. I would also like to ask the “siestas” for their prayers for myself and my family. Please pray that I can glorify God through whatever lies ahead. God is good!

    • 170.1
      Jenn says:

      Praying for your healing, strength and comfort.

      • Joetta Abston says:

        Thank you so much! I came back to the blog praying that God had sent someone with a word. You responses mean so much; I don’t even know the words to express my gratitude!

    • 170.2
      Kathy Gerlach says:

      “dignity”
      I will be praying for you, and that you have a good result from whatever treatment you need. I had breast cancer in 1973, yes 38 years ago. Then I broke all the rules by getting pregnant, and my daughter is 37. But back then, they did not have some of the tests they do today. I just want you to know that you can survive this, and there are a lot of breast cancer survivors. I pray that you will be one of us!
      Please let me know how you are doing. [email protected]

    • 170.3
      Kathy says:

      Oh ‘Dignity’, my own diagnosis of breast cancer was 2 years ago this week. Jesus will give you the strength that you need each day, just like manna, he will provide. Great is Thy Faithfulness! All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me. Trust Him, He is all that you need. I love you my dear sister and will be praying for your complete recovery.

  21. 171
    Katie says:

    Beth-
    My “advice” for increasing personal intimacy is something I learned from you in the Stepping Up study and have tried to practice ever since . . . Sing to the Lord!!
    Spend some time pouring out your heart to the Lord in song (whether personally written or songs of worship you know from other sources). I’ve found that this can really enhance the intimacy in personal prayer time and allow me to be honest on a new level.
    -Katie

  22. 172
    Yanna Westmoreland says:

    Really good question Beth. I have struggled with this lately, even asking God to help me pray. I do fine with what I call praying without ceasing in my head all day long. It’s stopping and actually going to Him in prayer that pours from my heart I find I don’t do enough of. My best prayer time have been at the local high school track at 5am or early early in the morning when I can’t sleep like 2-4am. I have found myself asking God to teach me how to pray then, not just say a list or matter of fact discussion but a Spirit filled prayer which He promises He will give. So I guess the answer to how to balance my prayer life…I take advantage of those wee hours of the morning when I can’t sleep,I find Him so near then.

  23. 173
    Shelley G says:

    Oh Boy! This one is hard! I find that it is easier for me to spend time with just God and Me. I think because I feel I need it so much. If if I know of a specific need of others I pray for them and I also pray for my family but honestly I spend most of my time on myself.

  24. 174
    Missy S says:

    Hey Beth! Great question!

    First, please know that I am not trying to give the “right” answer when I say what I’m about to say. I don’t think there is a right answer when it comes to prayer. But, with that said, I want you to know that I have found the P-R-A-I-S-E format you used in Whispers of Hope to bring a wonderful balance to my prayer life. Even though I haven’t used the actual book in many years, I still go back to that format because I find that it helps me to center myself on the right things in prayer. Also, this year, more than ever (probably because of my current season), my conversations with God have taken over so much more of my day. I’m talking to him non-stop throughout the day. Which leads me to my main struggle with a lack of balance in prayer – I talk too much, and don’t listen enough. I was reminded of that last night reading through the book of Job. Siestas, do you have any suggestions for learning how to quietly listen to God?

    Love y’all! Can’t wait to see everyone’s perspectives!

    • 174.1
      Marie says:

      I agree! I struggle with the listening part too! I would love to hear from others who spend time listening to God.

      • Stine says:

        I listen with friends – four of the most wonderful, godly women on the planet. We sit quietly together, listening for each of us in turn. We write down what we think God is telling us about that sister (whether it makes sense to us or not)and when we are done we read them to each other. It could be a scripture or song brought to mind; one friend sees pictures. It is amazing how God speaks – connecting the dots and giving a clear message in community. I find I need to practice though – I needed to learn to quiet myself and recognize the thoughts in my head as his voice for my sister.

  25. 175
    Karina Sousa says:

    The Spirit is the same!!! so many of us ( including myself) says “…how funny you posted this now i’ve just been thinking/talking/praying about balance in my prayer life…” yep thats Him, The Holy Spirit. I can say that cause just yesterday i was thinking how can we (me, at least) be so inconstant. I was telling the Lord how can one day I wake up with so much energy and spend an hour in His presence praying, reading His word, just talking to Him and the next morning wake up in such a lazy mood (idk if im describing it well – im from Brazil so english is second language :/) but anyhow I was telling Him yesterday. I find hard too to balance praying for myself and others, but im asking Him right now to teach me how.
    Thanks for posting this Beth and for all siestas comments He is teaching me through your responses already.

    • 175.1
      Angie says:

      Your post makes perfect sense and I love your exclamation that The Spirit is the same – gave me chills!

  26. 176
    Rebecca says:

    You have posted on something I was actually going to email Amanda about for advice! How cool is God like that?!?!?!

    I usually just verbalize my prayers throughout the day. Speaking them out loud. However, I’ve got a desire to journal–but I’m afraid to do it. Here’s why: What if my personal prayer thoughts/struggles/praises are read by someone else? What if what I write causes them pain? Now I know nobody should be reading my personal journals; however, one day I won’t be here and someone will read them. I guess the real question is this: What if someone sees my most private moments with the Lord and their opinion of me changes? If I don’t write it down, then no one will know, right?

    I’ve loved the motto of writing offenses in the sand, so they could be erased and forgiven, but writing the good things in stone, so that they could be remembered and treasured. There’s a lot of good in that for sure, but aren’t the bad times to be recorded to? So you can go back and see what God has done in your life in and through those circumstances?

    I don’t want fear to stop me from pouring out my heart to God through pen and paper because I believe there is something very real, raw and intentional about doing so.

    Any advise to help me? I’m stuck in a big ole rut!

    Rebecca

    • 176.1
      ConnieH says:

      Hi Rebecca. I have long shared the same fears as you do in the area of journaling. It’s just to, well, personal, and I don’t want anyone else reading it. This bothers me to the point of when I have tried to journal, I am always thinking in the back of my mind, how will my kids take this if they are reading this after I am long gone? Silly, perhaps, but it has kept me from putting my true, honest thoughts on paper.

      The solution I found was to blog. Now wait, before you say oh my, then the whole world can see, I started my own, private blog through google. It is hidden, so it is only available to view for those who I invite in. And I don’t invite anyone in. I have found that I can pour my heart out here, not worry about spelling, complete sentences, or thoughts I am putting on paper. It has given me the freedom to express myself. It’s my love letter to God – even sometimes full of anger, or pain, or thanksgiving. But it’s all only between my savior and me. Just a thought…..you may want to give it a try. 🙂

      • Rebecca says:

        I have never thought about the whole private blog thing. Hmmmm… That might just be a great thing for me since I could print whatever I wanted to print at a latter date–or not, whatever the case may be.

        Thanks for your encouragement and your insight!

        Rebecca

    • 176.2
      Denise says:

      Rebecca, I struggled with that, too, because I REALLY pour out my heart, and sometimes what’s in there, what’s concerning me, what I’m so angry about- is not very pretty. But the way I figure it, by the time someone does come along to read my journals, I’ll be either dead and gone or not be in my right mind. And if someone goes tiptoeing into my private “space” and gets their feelings hurt by something I’ve written, oh well, they should not have eaten of that “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” 🙂 I also think that what I’m going through now and how I’m dealing with it- by taking it to the Lord and giving it all to Him- may be helpful to whoever comes across it in the future. That’s the way God’s given me peace, and permission, to pour every drop of my heart out to Him. I hope you’ll go ahead and start journaling- it is SO very helpful and cleansing!

      • Rebecca says:

        hahahaha–you have made me laugh with the tree statement! 🙂 Love it!

        I want to pour my heart out because I believe it’s cleansing, too. ConnieH mentioned a private blog which might just be the ticket. But I also love the written word from pen to paper. You’ve definitely given me food for thought. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

        Rebecca

  27. 177
    Amy says:

    Prayer is such an amazing honor. To be able to enter the throne room and have a conversation with God unbelievable – Thank you Jesus for what you did on the cross. I have found, over the years, it much easier to pray at some times than others. I have a hard time being disciplined in this area as well as so many others. I have also found that once people know you really do pray that the requests can be overwhelming. Something I found that has worked for me, when I use it, is to separate the non-crisis prayer requests into days excluding my kids who I pray for regularly. On Monday, I pray for the government, country and christians around the world. On Tuesday I pray for friends. On Wednesday I pray for extended family. On Thursday I pray for my church. On Friday for the people I know that don’t know the Lord. I have lists for each day for specific needs. However, if there is a crisis or something really important I pray right then and continue praying. But, this has helped me not to be overwhelmed and not to forget something I wanted to pray about. It also condenses the time that is taken up with me talking so I can more easily stop and listen without feeling rushed and also I can then pray for the prayer requests I know about specifically. This has really helped me to stay focused on prayer. Even though this system works well for me there are still so many times I don’t follow it.

  28. 178
    Holly says:

    I have struggled with this for many many years. I long to have intimacy daily with the Lord. One lady commented that she asked God to wake her up in the mornings and he’s done that. He’s done that for me too, with success, but my flesh has been stronger than my desire most times, so I stay in bed. I know God never quits calling me to prayer. I was called to be an intercessor when I was 18 years old and I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve struggled with it ever since. Thank you for encouraging us to keep at it – to pray wherever, however we can. I have a full time job, husband, 5 year old and baby on the way. I know the free time I have now (very little) will continue to get eaten up by busyness, and my goal in the last year is to not fill my life with busyness, but oh so hard! Why? Simple answer, flesh, the enemy, lots of things. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles, and that God never gives up on me – wanting me! Oh, how he wants me! Oh, how he loves me! It is overwhelming. God, thank you for your presence at this very moment, loving me and quickening my heart/spirit to you, even while I’m sitting here typing this. I love you Father.

  29. 179
    Laura says:

    Thank you so much for the last few sentences! I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old and I feel like a great prayer time is 10 focused minutes. But, like you my dear Siesta mama, I have been longing to get back to my journal and pen some love letters to my Jesus. To journal what I hear Him saying to me. I ache for that time.

    I wish I had a great way to find balance, and for me yielding to the Holy Spirit is a great start. There are times he puts others or situations so heavily on my heart the only move I can make is getting down to my knees to cover the situation in prayer. Other times He so reveals my own brokenness that I have to pray sincerely from my own heart.

    I am so grateful for your challenge to balance my prayer life! Thank you!

  30. 180
    Tanya Hoffman says:

    Thank you Siesta’s for sharing your struggles and triumps so openly. As a 30 year old Mom of three VERY active children, along with a full time career sometimes it is all I can do to brush my teeth before I fall into bed exhausted.
    This year I have joined SSMT (Siesta Scripture Memory Team) and that has been so awesome. Daily I go over all the scriptures so far for the year. The best part is when we all post and I can read through scripture and just let it saturate my heart.
    I thank God that He knows our hearts and gives us small moments to enjoy His presence!

  31. 181
    Judylynn says:

    The one thing I know – God hears and answers prayers. So why don’t we spend more time praying? Good question. I start my days on my knees thanking God for the day and everything in my life. Thank you Abba! I dont want to run to Him only when I want or need something. Sometimes its 2 mins before work and sometimes its longer-it makes such a difference in my day. Then pray and talk to Jesus all day as he literally guides you through everything you do. Just read The List by Robert Whitlow – one of the characters had a prayer closet- good book – how I wish I could spend so much more quality time with just me and my Saviour. Something I need to work on for sure.

  32. 182
    Beth says:

    A few months ago our pastor suggested fasting for one meal a week. I used this time for specific prayer for me. My relationship with the Lord was the focus. I did this for one month and it was amazing. This can be incorporated every month, every other month, etc. I encourage you to give it a try!

  33. 183
    Carol from MA says:

    I also have been helped by the devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Really it has been a springboard to deeper intimacy with God. I never realized how much self condemnation I had until I started using this devotional and hearing God’s loving words. Now I am practicing living in His presence through out the day and reminding myself that God never blinks or leaves my side. I meet with Him in the morning but invite Him into my life through out the day. I am calmer as a result and converse with Jesus all day long. When challenges come, I call out to Him and refocus. That being said, I need to develop a better intercessory prayer life. I am aware of just how much need there is for prayer everywhere. How to fit it all in?

  34. 184
    Chrissy says:

    I am currently in a season of learning to seek Him more and more. I recently broke it off with Mr. Wrong after having been in a relationship with him for 1 yr and 7 months, sticking with him that long because I foolishly thought I could change him into the man I thought he was when I first met him. Wrong. The freedom and closeness I felt to God after letting that man go was the deepest it has ever been in my life, but in the past two weeks, things have got REALLY hard… hard to feel love for not only others, but myself. So, I have made an effort in the past week to seek God first and fully each morning, and I am steadily improving. I pray for His help to keep my mind set on putting this practice a priority EVERY.single.day, as I know how healing it is! Once I have spent a certain amount of time with God like this, I eventually get to a point where instead of worrying over my own issues, I have strong urges that seem to pop out of nowhere to pray for a certain person or situation, and then pray is exactly what I do. Could be in the middle of my morning meeting with God, or it could be in the middle of my workday. I just go with the flow! 🙂

  35. 185
    Lisa Bowden says:

    Thank you for today’s topic Seista Mama – I have been pondering this myself lately (of course, that’s how He works, right?).
    With so many needs around us each day, I’m often overwhelmed with who to pray for. My “default” setting is PRAISE (the acronym you taught us in “Whispers of Hope”) — most often the Repent comes before the Praise. But I confess as a mom of small children, journaling is not a primary mode of prayer…I do write when the pain is really bad…but it’s not my default during this season.
    What God has done with me is combined my intercession with exercise.
    To be sure, I start each day on my knees…confessing sin, praising His name, praying for others and self…and the daily Word from my church’s reading plan. Sometimes I get 5 minutes, other times 30….then I’m off to deal with two combatting boys…

    Some days I get more time, but for serious intercession I hit the beach. I am blessed to be able to walk to the ocean and pour out my heart to God. He brings to me the faces of those I am to pray for. Sometimes it’s my church leadership, other times it’s someone from the grocery store, many days it’s my sisters in Africa. I just trust the Holy Spirit to show me. That is one of the most fascinating aspects of intercession for me – Him. His Spirit working in me. Usually there’s a “holy-balance” of intercession for others and supplication for self in my walks. I don’t try to put boxes around it….which is huge growth for a “put it in a box and tie a bow on it kind of girl.”

    One Siesta mentioned “talking too much” – I’m sure most of us are guilty of this at times – but there are two things I’ve developed to be quiet. 1) I set a timer and sit quietly AFTER intercession and Word. 2) I walk on the beach with NO IPOD and when I hit the halfway mark I stop talking.
    So there you go. That’s my current intercessory life in a nutshell – but like many of you I pray for continued growth in this area. Thanks so much siestaville for keeping it real!
    Love y’all!

  36. 186
    Robin in the Sticks of Texas says:

    There are times when I just don’t have the words to express what I feel. There are times when I just don’t know what to ask for. I spend my time gazing at my Lord, and I often ask dear friends to pray for me. We trade out I guess. I can easily pray for others. Praying for me is what I struggle with…..so I just picture my self before His throne.

  37. 187
    Elaine says:

    I loved reading this and the comments so far. My prayers are all over, not nearly so organized. I do keep a list from my Bible study group and I’ll add on my own. But during the day I’m also shooting up those arrow prayers for whatever comes to mind. It may be a family member. It may be a car accident I just passed by or an ambulance I hear. I’ve heard of ACTS, but not PRAISE, would you enlighten me? I too would love to write my prayers, but I am afraid of others reading it. Not that I have any deep dark secrets, it’s just an intimate time with my God. I’ve even written an online journal before, password protected,but I know any computer person can get past that.

    • 187.1
      Missy S says:

      Hey Elaine! PRAISE is the format that Beth suggests in her devotional Whispers of Hope (which is excellent, by the way.) P stands for Praise :), so you open by telling God how marvelous he is! R stands for Repentance – that’s you’re time for confession. A stands for Acknowledgement – a time to acknowledge your need for God. I stands for Intercession. S stands for Supplication (just like in ACTS), and E stands for Equipping – i.e. asking God to equip you to do what He calls you to do. In a nutshell, it’s very similar to the ACTS format, but I find that it encompasses a couple more things. 🙂

      • Tammy says:

        Is that book still available? I was also wondering if the stepping up is a bible study we can do without dvds…oh my mind is wondering…

  38. 188
    Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for acknowledging something that so few of us talk about. I know my list of distractions is familiar to so many women out there; mom, wife, friend, employee, housekeeper, personal shopper, etc. I feel a tug on my heart to make time to savor Christ’s love for me, as well as a call to actually notice the pain of others’ and lift them up as well. I don’t have an answer as to a balanced prayer life, since, to be completely honest, I haven’t found one yet. The one thing I do know I learned through being diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year: my precious Jesus is like a friend who is happy just to hang out with me. He’ll tag along on my errands, he’ll have rock sessions with me in the car, he’ll sit with me in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and he’ll even pull up a chair while I do my dishes. I’m finding less a need to have the conversation “right” and more a need to just have the conversation as things happen.

  39. 189
    Dawn Michelle says:

    I am so deeply encouraged by this question…that I am not alone in my struggle for balance…How like us to want the abundant life Christ promises so badly that we are seeking the “perfect” way. That’s just it. He IS the Way! I think I am realizing He loves us all, each one so individually that He will lead and guide us daily as we DO spend time in His presence. My journals are full. He just wants my heart full of Him. “I love you Lord, and I lift my voice….”

  40. 190
    Cynthia says:

    I have been struggling with this issue. I don’t enjoy spending all of my precious time with God bringing him a laundry list of issues that He is well aware of already. Yet, I want and need to pray for those around me who are in a battle. Paul was constantly praying for churches and ministries, so I know we are called to do that. I have a weekly prayer list with each day having different prayer needs and I just keep adding. I feel a bit guilty sometimes, though, to spend all my time with God asking for things. Lately, I have been praying the book of Psalms with whatever chapter seems to fit where I am. I am interested to see the responses since this is an issue that has troubled me at times.

  41. 191
    Diane says:

    WOW, amazing…those were the words that came to mind this morning as I read your post. It’s like you read my mind. I don’t have any full-proof plan. It is so comforting to know that a women of God like yourself has the same struggles as I do. There are so many prayer needs of so many I have constantly struggled with my prayer time and questioned myself on whether I am focusing more on myself (being shelfish) and not focusing on other peoples needs and concerns. I try to do the same thing that you do and also try to be ever aware of the Holy Spirits guidance in lifting people up in prayer (including myself) throught out the day also.

  42. 192
    To Know Him says:

    My prayer life has always been one of the things I struggle with the most in my walk with Christ. I think partly because I put too much emphasis and the emotions of it all. The times I have been in prayer with God and felt connected and moved to tears have been some of the sweetest moments I have had with God on this earth. The only problem is that those times are not the normal. It is so hard to sit before God with a heart that feels cold or disconnected, so I chosen to do other things instead. Things that do not draw me closer to Christ.

    However, I am determined to push past these feelings and stay the course with Christ. I know, and I mean I know “formulas” do not work… I have tried them all 🙂 But I do like your idea of marking out a couple of days for you and the Lord, and on other days focusing in on intercession for others.

    Thanks Beth for sharing your heart… You are definitely one reason I have been challenged to love Jesus more deeply. You are the first person I ever saw that loved Jesus with such complete abandonment. Thank you for that… Love you…Kim

  43. 193
    Hope says:

    This post is so timely for me. I feel like so many here out of balanced. Wanting to do what my heart wants/longs for, but the actual sitting down and spending time with God seems so difficult. I don’t have any children, but i think maybe i’ve filled that hole with busyness. All good things, but i’ve not chosen the best thing. Why is it i can be faithful to watching Biggest Loser or some show on TV, but i can’t be faithful to God who saved me? UGH, i hate the struggle between the heart and the will. Esp. with summer here, i feel like my schedule is even more lax meaning, the bible studies i’m in are Sept-May, so now here in almost-June, i’m feeling a little out of sorts. I’ve written down some of the books mentioned. Thanks for encouraging me with your words- they mean a lot to me!!

  44. 194
    God's not-so-little Dutch girl says:

    I don’t usually spend a lot of prayer time on myself. I am great at starting something and even greater at not finishing them. I would like to start a notebook with prayer requests, so that I remember to pray for the things/people who have asked for prayer. My prayer time feels like I’m skipping stones as I pray. My mind flits from one thing to the next constantly, and I either forget where I was in my prayer or feel like I’ve forgotten something.(This is where the notebook would come in handy;)) I usually have my quiet time after I get up in the morning, and then pray “popcorn” prayers all day. It seems disjointed, maybe my summer Bible study could be on prayer? Love you, Mama Beth!Have a wonderful holiday weekend,Siestas!

  45. 195
    Kristi says:

    I struggle with this on a daily basis. When I did not work, I did my prayer time first thing in the morning. Now that I am back working, it seems I never make time. I tried to have quiet time in the morning, but it would seem my family would then decide to get up and start moving around. Then I tried at night, but again the family needed my attention or something in the room where I was. I pray now when I drive to work. I also pray immediately for people who are in need of prayer. This has been a troublesome spot for me. I miss my intimate time with My Jesus so much, but yet I cannot seem to find a quite spot.

  46. 196
    Sonja says:

    I was not going to commment, but today I stopped back at the LPM blog for the first in a long time. I just wanted to thank you for your PS. I am a mom to 3, providing daycare to 6 little people, I have a self-employed husband and a teen with some extra needs. My time with the Lord is short, and I LONG for the balance to spend more time, but 10 minutes is about the max I get in this season. I have tears in my eyes as I write this as my time is not mine quite often. Thank you for the peace you have just shared in those brief words. Thank you for sharing your love of Him with all of us and the encouragement we so often need.

  47. 197
    Allison C.Lee says:

    I find that when I “sit in still and silence” my mind wanders. I’m so embarrassed to say that…my best conversations with the Lord are while I’m folding laundry, scrubbing bathrooms or exercising. My prayers are ramblings really on and off many topics in a matter of 10 seconds. Sometimes I actually say “Did you get that Lord? Should I explain it another way?” Then I apologize for my scattered mind.
    When I write things down it is mostly so personal that I tear it up after and throw it away in fear one of my kiddos will read it when I’m dead and gone. Sad right?
    Thanks for the morning conversation topic…needed it badly. Today is the first day kids are all home from school for the summer:)

    HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!

  48. 198
    Brandy says:

    I’ve been struggling with my prayer life for over a year now. My husband and I were married late winter of 2010. The season of my early twenties before my husband was an ever increasing closeness with the Lord. I used to get into bed at night and journal to Him and have the most intimate time sharing my heart with Him and hearing a little of His. This time is so dear to me. Now that “my man” is next to me when I crawl into the covers, that time is just not the same. It is almost like an ever constant distraction from my one-on-one with Jesus. I’ve tried to claim a different part of my day for Him, but nothing is quite as precious. I’ve asked God if I’m putting my husband as an idol, and I don’t feel as though I am. Perhaps I need to pursue Him in a different way… The book mentioned above by Sarah Young I might look into!

  49. 199
    Nicole Morouse says:

    Nicole- York, PA
    Loving my studies of “The Psalms of Ascent”. Particularly the challenge to re-write Psalm 122 as my own prayer to the Lord.  What an amazing opportunity to deepen my prayer life to Him!

  50. 200
    Jenn says:

    Mama Siesta,
    Have you been peeking in my journal? How did you know I took a prayer inventory this week? I layed out all my prayer cards and hand written sticky notes and Word files and took a hard look at what I’m praying about. Right now I need Jesus to heal me of wounds from my past, and I can’t continue to gloss over those wounds anymore. I need specific, Scripture based prayer to Him for myself. And so, that is my focus right now. It is hard to allow myself to be the focus of my prayers and not feel guilty that I’m nt praying enough for others. This is just too timely. I can’t wait to read all the responses, because I need some help on this topic.

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