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. 251
    ConnieH says:

    Beth, thank you for this blog post. It seems to have stirred a lot of thought and discussion. I think this is one area that I really, really need work on. God and I had a bit of a falling out a few years ago. I got my feelings hurt, and still don’t fully understand why everything happened the way it did. The end result was good, because God is always good, but his answers were different than the way I saw things going. Ever since then I have a problem truly believing that God hears me when I cry out to him. I have a problem feeling that he sees me on a daily basis. This has hurt my prayer life. I have been doing the memory verses twice a month along with you guys, but still struggle in this area. Thanks for blogging about this topic today. It brings about a sense of urgency – I need to figure this thing out, and by the grace of God, feel his presence again.

  2. 252
    Kathy says:

    Dear Beth,
    I am a little cautious about sharing my prayer life because of Matthew 6:6. However there are many things about my prayer life that were given me by mighty Christian
    prayer warriors so I think it is appropriate to share these things.
    Number one is from A.W Tozer who prayed face down on the beach, sometimes for 3 hours. So from that knowledge I always pray laying down on my face before the Lord. I pray on the floor in my living room and the rug is soft:-)
    This form of prayer posture takes away all the distractions of life for me.
    In this last year I have been encouraged by my spiritual mother to read a book called the Living Prayer(The Lord’s prayer alive in you),By Dennis Fuqua. This has been a huge help to me. The Lord’s prayer is how Jesus taught the deciples to pray. Using the Lord’s prayer as my pattern has been awesome!
    The third thing that has made a big impact on my prayer life from the begining was reading Oswald Chambers life story and his prescious devotional “My Utmost for His Highest”. Always on my heart is Oswald’s words “prayer should bring bent knees and wet eyes”.
    And last I am new to the siesta”s scripture blog. Only 10 times so far. But I love using my 10 verses in my prayer time. Praying the scriptures for me or for others. And the scriptures are being engrated in to my heart in a mighty way.
    Thank you Beth for this new opportunity:-) I have added new scriptures as well as old ones that needed brushing off.
    Praying for you and your mighty ministry!
    Love, Kathy

  3. 253
    Angie Hott says:

    Thanks so much for such an insightful consideration of how to talk to God. I believe it is personal for the individual. As a busy mom of four, my prayer time is scattered — just like me, I guess! LOL! Please check out my column about prayer today:
    http://www.excusemecanitellyousomething.blogspot.com
    Thanks!

  4. 254
    Marcy says:

    Isaiah 50:4 [ The Lord’s Obedient Servant ] “The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will”.

    I came across this scripture almost a year ago. It really made me think- because of Him I wake up each day and breathe and have life. He alone is who gives us wisdom and puts everything in place for us. If I want to have the right words for others, then I need to spend more quiet time with the Lord. So I decided at that moment to commit more time, before my day starts to Him who “wakens” me. I bow down and pray, first thanking Him for all the blessings in my life and then I usually pray for my myself (my heart to be right) and then pray for the hearts of others around me. Then I pray for my study time in His word. I have to say, in this quiet time each morning for the last ten months, He has opened my understanding of His Word like nothing else in my life.
    I truly know what Jesus was saying in Matthew 4:4 – “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ”

  5. 255
    Brittanie says:

    I am a mom of a 14 month old. Normally when i’m driving to work/daycare I tell my little one how thankful we are to have a new day. And I sing a little song of praise to Thank God. Throughout the day I say a lil prayer as I think of things that need praying over. At night when I lay my lil one down to sleep I pray over him. I also pray for my husband and myself at the end of each day.

    The best thing I got from my church is a list for 90 days on scriptures to pray over other children in our church. Each day has a kayword to pray over these children. It has helped me sooo much with my prayers even for my own child. I’ve often thought these things/ideas but never really got them out in prayer. My prayers for my child normally consisted of thankfulness for health and that he would know the Lord and be a vessell for God in his lifetime. Not to say those things aren’t worthy of prayer. I’ve been redirected in praying for Salvation, Wisdom, Friends for the future, his future mate & purity, Fear, being humble….and the scriptures that go along with these keywords have been wonderful.

    Basically, i’ve found that I need some structure to help me pray. I know it will help my prayer life grow more.

  6. 256
    Sara says:

    Right now I am in the hurting heart category. I need that time with God in the morning. When I get alone with Him I try and do the ACTS prayer (adoration, confession, thankfulness and supplication). Although, I feel like am doing all the talking. Sometimes I feel like I just say the same things and it is not truly from my heart because I am trying to follow this ACTS thing. I find I need that sitting quiet before Him time so He can work and move in my heart. When I am quiet first before Him, I feel the Spirit moves me to pray more out of my heart and with sincerety. I also want to know about praying without ceasing? Sometimes I feel like I am just constantly asking Him for stuff and I feel like I am just ordering Him around all day (ugh)! But then He tells us to be anxious for nothing and pray about everything (WITH thanksgiving). That is the part I need to remember. Bottom line, I do struggle with how often do I pray about something for myself or someone else and is there a magic number of times before God answers it? Can’t I pray about it once and know God heard me and is then working on it from then on? Help please 🙂

    • 256.1
      diane Bailey says:

      Dear Sara, I see you have young children and, if you are like me who had four, that you are pulled in many directions both physically and mentally. For me just stopping, turning off all phones, computers, TVs and putting my feet on the couch for just 10 minutes could make me feel closer to Him.

      When the world crowds in I turn to worship. Not trying to study and comprehend something new in my already crowded mind. To think about the words I am singing and try to allow their meaning to sink into my spirit. Perhaps you could begin with simply desiring to be near Him. He will do the work of speaking. Just try resting your head, between His big shoulders.

      Peace, Sister. He hears you.

  7. 257
    Vicki says:

    Beth,

    The past 4 years have been almost constant crisis mode for my family. My prayer life before this time has been focusing and praying for others and loving that I could intercede for my friends and family. In crisis mode, it has been so self-focused – and I have not liked being in that place nearly as well. Recently, when coming to the Lord with such sorrow and heaviness in my soul, I started out by asking the Lord for forgiveness for being in asking mode once again. Honestly, almost aloud, I felt Him say, It is all right, my child. I love you and I know your heart. And my prayer life has entered a new place. He feels more present and real to me, and I have been prompted to pray for others, almost as if being led. I wonder if in my routineness, I was handing Him a list and when I got “real” with Him, it opened the door for Him to actually be present. I don’t understand it all – but I am so grateful for the change. And I want to not fall into old habits and get routine again in my time with Him.

    Thank you for urging us on – you help us be iron sharpening iron. I am so blessed by you, Living Proof, and the Siestas.

  8. 258
    Brittanie says:

    Also, I used to write a journal and it was a great way for me to write my thoughts to the Lord. I still have years of journals. (before being married and having a child) I am going to try and get back to those days of having that journal. It was a great way for me to talk to God daily!

  9. 259
    Sarah Vint says:

    Hello Siestas! Thank you so much dear Beth for bringing up this topic. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 2 years and work full time. We both typically sit in our lovely living room and spend time with the Lord in His word, prayer and sipping our necessary coffee. We don’t have children and so I assume it is MUCH easier for us to have a routine.

    I have tried many things– lists of people / ministries / areas of life of particular days of the week to pray for, even using my computers to-do system to remind me on these days of what I’d like to pray, etc. I found that these provided too much structure and that they weren’t life giving to my relationship with God, but were sources of unnecessary condemnation. I’ve recently reverted to more intuition and the leading the Spirit– alongside confession, examining my own heart, and praying for my husband, I then praying for whoever and whatever the Holy Spirit brings to mind while journaling and during the day.

    As it is with all love relationships– some structure is helpful in directing us to keep our priorities, but how that looks will change with life seasons in prayer and what we use to help keep our heart focus on Jesus and loving others (devotionals, how to journal, praying out loud, in the car, etc). I’ve learned not to get discouraged with the changes, but to keep pressing on to know Him whatever that looks like in each season.

  10. 260
    Amy says:

    I am a mom of two teen biological sons. I also recently became the proud mommy of a three year old special needs princess from China. In my outside life,I am a Bible study teacher & am in ministry. The Word is Life to me. But the past 8 months since we brought Hope home from China, my quiet time has been ransacked. I’ve mourned its change, I will admit.

    These words below meant the world to me…thank you for saying it, “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.”

    Right now, Jesus is moment to moment, need to need. I thank God for being portable. Where would I be without Him by my side each moment of the day? Especially the past 8 months of change, transition, challenge and deep gratitude. For now, I seek Him as I can, when I can and listen to His sweet nothings in my ear the rest of the day calling me, His beloved to Himself, even if its just to think upon His grace or mercy in my life for a moment.

  11. 261
    Alita says:

    I have always been prayer challenged. I am so grateful for the honesty of you ladies. It is comforting to know I am not alone in my struggle. I just printed all your comments so I can absorb your words during quiet and heal my heart.
    Thank you all for contributing. Beth, your timing is perfect as always. You are living proof of His wonderful works.

  12. 262
    Joni says:

    This is such a timely post because I’ve been in crisis-mode for a few weeks. What I have been doing the past week, right when I wake up in the morning, is talking to God right then–before I get out of bed–because I need His strength and His help so badly right now. Sometimes it’s 20 min. or more and sometimes it’s only 5 min. It’s after I pour out my heart to Him and sing a song of praise that I have the mental and physical strength to get up and then go to His Word. I ready My Utmost for His Highest & journal what speaks to me. Then I pray for my family & others. This is where I am right now.

    • 262.1
      Brenda says:

      I too, let my prayer time flow from my scripture devotional time. More often than not, the scripture speaks to me at a point of need in my own walk with Christ. Then, after that sweet time of fellowship, confession, outpouring, and receiving healing and forgiveness, I make a list of what God is leading me to pray about at that time. This “pattern” really works for me. It is always exciting to hear who He is putting on my heart.

  13. 263
    Joni says:

    Beth,
    I totally forgot to add the verse the Lord brought to me when I was just recently “in crisis” and I just burst out in tears when I read it. I knew the Lord was telling me what to do: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Lu. 10:41-42. Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. I knew He was telling me I needed to do the same. Maybe He’s making us all aware of what is truly needed in our lives right now. Submitting this humbly….

  14. 264
    Jodi says:

    Oh Beth…His timing is everything. I’m sure I’m not the only one who read this today “Our thinking about prayer, whether right or wrong, is based on our own mental conception of it. The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts.” -Oswald Chambers http://utmost.org/ (May 26) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
    I believe that when we are actively consecrating our hearts, souls, mind and strength so that our very breathing is praying, then this discussion becomes irrelevant. Intercession flows out of us as He directs and intimacy is our way of life. The more we are giving thanks, the deeper and stronger we participate in the intimacy. In those times of crisis we are desperately grateful for the way He spoon feeds us. That puts us in right alignment with Him and the intimacy flows through.
    Anywho…you just happened to catch me after He was speaking these very things to my heart. Love you! Had a blessed time last weekend at LPL in Minneapolis.

  15. 265
    Patti says:

    God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are The Perfect Relationship. I was created in the image of my God for a relationship with Him, and because I have been recreated in Christ Jesus, I have the Holy Spirit living in me, making it possible for me to have fellowship with the Father and Son through prayer. So how do I balance my prayer life? By His Spirit, I make my life a prayer for a steadfast mind that trusts Him; a believing heart that loves Him; and a willing spirit that obeys Him. I keep my eyes peeled, my heart tuned, and my will submitted to the Perfect Model. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ears to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious, I have not drawn back. (Isaiah 50:4b-5)

    Much love to all of you,
    Patti Hayes

  16. 266
    Jenny says:

    I am the mother of a young child. As Beth pointed out, prayer time can be harder to fit in. So, the Lord showed me the beauty of praying at all times. One way I do this is during times when I am breast feeding the baby. Instead of flipping on the TV like I used to, I use that time to talk to God (especially in the wee hours of the morning).
    Much has been written in our diet-obsessed culture about the ‘best’ plan to eat healthily. The current thinking says, Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large ones. So, I am approaching prayer like that- several small times of prayer throughout the day. The wonderful thing is that I am finding myself more connected to God because prayer can happen at any time of the day or night- when breast feeding or any other time I am hungry for the nourishment of His presence and guidance.
    I have also started taking my baby to morning prayer time at my church once a week. Instead of staying the entire time, I stay for about 10 minutes- the amount of time that works for her. Therefore, she has a positive introduction to corporate prayer.
    There are some wonderful ways to pray even when time is limited.

  17. 267

    The Holy Spirit is my guide for finding balance in prayers for myself and others. He speaks into my heart and gives me the words and the voice. Sometimes He speaks so clearly His presence is felt in the room with me. Other times He speaks into my heart and I drop on my knees to the floor. I’m amazed how powerful this is. One minute I’m on Twitter or reading an email, and the next minute my face is on the floor and I’m smelling the dust in my carpet! Or I’m driving my car and suddenly the Spirit tells me to pray hard for someone in another car, and I do! When I am weakened by my own emotions, I ask others to intercede for me and I am strengthened by their words. Prayers do not have timetables, because we are to pray constantly with our eyes on Jesus.

  18. 268
    Maria Dickerson says:

    You have so hit on something I have been grappling with lately! As a Type A personality, my first instinct is to formulate a Bible reading plan, get a certain color highlighter, and wake at 2am to get this problem solved. But then my sweet Savior reminds me that He is my Keeper and I can rest in His keeping. And in His counsel, words like Isaiah 30:7&15 (KJV)(“Their strength is to sit still (shabbat)….In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength)soothe the ache in my soul. I hear Him whisper, “Seek me first. I will lead you from there in our conversation.” In the end, my fidgetiness (is that a word?) and activity are the enemy of sweet time with Him.

  19. 269
    sillydoodah says:

    I’ve had different methods during different seasons of life.

    One season, as a single gal, had me praying for me and my hurts and needs during the week (short sessions b/c of work/school, etc.), and then spending a longer session on a weekend morning to pray through my list.

    Currently, my new husband and I are integrating our prayer lives. My personal time with Jesus is about me and my heart and my marriage and all the growth/healing that is coming up because of this new season. These days a lot of my intercession is happening with my man, which is really cool!

    We pray before we get out of bed in the morning and before we fall asleep at night. Just short and sweet, thanking God for the day, provision, protection, our marriage, etc. If a pressing need is on our minds we’ll mention it, but mostly its just basic stuff. And if an urgent need comes up, we’ll drop everything and pray right then.

    But our main intercession these days is with our “prayer jars”. We compiled a list of things we felt needed prayer, typed them up, cut them out, and put all the slips into Jar 1. When we eat a meal, we take a slip out of Jar 1, pray for that person/issue/etc. and place the slip into Jar 2. When all the slips have been prayed for, we continue, in reverse.

    This has been a very cool way to pray. We don’t stress about not praying through the whole list every time, because we know that all the concerns will be prayed over in time. And because we only do one or two at a time, we can go deeper into each subject. A surprise blessing is that because we can’t control which slips are grabbed, it feels like God Himself is guiding our prayer instead of us.

    We are really liking this method! We shared it with our house church, and as a church we started some prayer jars that we use at our worship gatherings. Just last night we prayed deeply (tears and worship!) for a local neighborhood torn apart by poverty and gangs and all kinds of oppression. It was good to sit with that as a group and pray.

    • 269.1
      Karen says:

      sillydoodah,
      I love the idea of the prayer jars!

      • sillydoodah says:

        It has been such a treat. We get to pray together, which has been such a bonding experience for us as newlyweds! Our prayers feel deeper. We don’t feel pressure to make sure we’re covering everything; we just trust that we will pull the slip of paper that is needed.

        I wish I’d done something like this earlier.

  20. 270
    faith says:

    this is hard for me. i find myself in constant “communication” with the Lord- whether on the road, while getting ready, sitting at my work desk, watching tv, playing with the kids and constantly lifting up quick/short prayers to God- but lacking the commitment of setting aside the specific time of my everyday to meet with the Lord! i am still learning and God is slowly but surely working on me in this important area of my life in submission to Him.

  21. 271
    Jean Schlosser says:

    Dear Beth,
    I’ve gleaned so much from you and learning to pray. I’m always being stretched. I try to pray and seek God first,
    before I step out of bed. My hearts desire is to spend more time, in prayer. God has really pressed 2 Chronicles 7:14 on my heart. As we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, God will heal our land. I believe we really need to be praying for those who are called by His name because it is then when He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. I’m praying for Christians to be united in the Spirit because as I have learned through your study on Living Beyond Yourself that revival starts with believers doing what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says. As Charles Stanley’s
    new book title says: Let’s “Handle it With Prayer”

  22. 272
    Sallie says:

    Such good and important food for thought. I have morning quiet time ~journaling to God as I read Scripture. But I can be so distracted. So two years ago I added on what I call Upper Room time in the afternoon. Yes, my sons are grown, so I have the luxury of more time. But life in ministry still crowds like crazy, so I must fight my way in.
    I sit with a journal,the NIV and the Message and a concordance, and I “converse” with God. I write down my questions/fears/prayers/confusion/whines (no “cleaning up” or editing allowed) and I listen. And He speaks and I write it down.
    How do I know it’s Him and not me? He rarely speaks to the surface of the whine, but asks the deeper and unexpected questions. Or He might simply say “I love you” when I have just exposed my darkest parts– talk about undoing a heart! It is life and breath and gives life and breath to all else of prayer and relationship. It gives order to my chaos.
    I crawl to that room when I’m starving and dance in when He is so close. But I go. And now I can’t wait to go each day.
    And when it feels like it’s not about words, I am held in that as well, as I look out the window in the silence of that room, held in the arms of the One who loves me.
    Here’s what I know — it’s worth fighting for — for ourselves and for one another! It’s not a formula; it’s communion. And however it can look for you, that communion is a habit of heart that is LIFE. I am stopping right now and praying for each of you who is longing, that you might see Him seeing you! It simply doesn’t get any better than that!

  23. 273
    Lyli says:

    It’s so hard to stay balanced, isn’t it? I find that if I am seeking intimacy with Him, then I feel as if I am not interceding enough. If I am focused on intercession, then I feel like I am being “listy,” and my soul feels dry. What has helped me is to use my reading time for working on the intimacy — I pray those Scriptures back to the Lord. For intercession, my husband and I try to pray together each morning, and there we try to cover the bases of who we are burdened for. As the Lord puts things on my heart, I pray them back throughout the day, and if I can steal some quiet time somewhere, then I pull out the list and work on it — but I don’t guilt myself if I don’t get to my list. (I use my calender on my iPhone to remind me to pray for specific things that people ask me to pray for.) But, one thing I need never fail interceding for in my private prayer time is for my marriage.

    The book “Praying the Lord’s Prayer for Spiritual Breakthrough” by Elmer Towns was a blessing to me, and I highly recommend it. Max Lucado also has a great book on the Lord’s Prayer.

    I am curious about how you handle fasting, Beth. This is an area that the Lord has been speaking to me about a lot — another area I struggle to balance.

    Thanks for starting this conversation. It was timely for me. xoxo

  24. 274
    Connie Hein says:

    Interesting question Beth. I have found as i am in my mid 50’s that every season of my life is different in how i spend my morning prayer time. I wish i had known as a young women more about seasons that would come and go in my life and not worry about how i do it as long as i am letting God speak to me through His word and through quiet moments no matter how short or how long.

  25. 275
    RJ Strong says:

    Beth,
    (Single Mom – 3girls. , Youngest are twins which are graduating next Saturday – and yes I try not to be frighten of what this world will do to them – I know why God gave me great Knees!) anyway

    Prayer time. This is where my day begins.
    4:30 /5:00 – Coffee outside on my pourch, With my Savior!
    I tend to bow down on my knees and whisper “I Love you too Lord” Where do you want to take me this morning.
    He always has an answer! He likes to talk / teach for an hour . Then and ony then am I ready to let the world wake up… Thanks Beth

  26. 276
    Tammy says:

    This has been an issue I am currently wrestling with. God is missing me I feel it. My quiet time has been all over the place. It has always been a work in progress where I am at in the present season…but lately I sense God wants more. I have always journaled but lately the pages have been blank. God keeps bringing this up with here being the latest place…I just don’t know how to get it going…I am asking God to show me and trying to wait and praying it will be in Bold Letters as I sometimes miss His whispers. I am in a season of desiring God more than ever and feeling like I am far off the path. SO I am continuing to wrestle with it in conversation with God which seems the best place to start. I look forward to reading what the other siestas have to say on this. Thank you Mama Beth for opening our hearts to share on this.

  27. 277
    Donna says:

    I’m a 50ish year old single lady. I lost everything a few years ago when my husband walked away. Luckily we didn’t have children to experience the “H. e.-double tooth picks” that I did. I wished and prayed for children but that’s all water under the bridge now.
    I live with my parents who have health issues. I’m thankful for this chance to be with them to help them out and love the fact that they offered me a place to live when other family members turned their backs on me.
    I need the Lord more than ever… since I’m a night person and my parents go to bed early I find quiet peaceful times doing my Bible Studies and praying with the dog at my feet at the kitchen table. I loved your story about your table… I can relate! 🙂

  28. 278
    Mary Lou Menning says:

    Thank you, Beth, for that P.S. on your post. I’m a homeschool mom of 5 girls, all under 13, and I find it very challenging to find any time during the day to be alone with God. I still have my prayer journals from my single days and early years of marriage. I read them over occasionally and would love to have that hour or two of uninterrupted time with God to pour out my heart on the page to Him. I used to feel guilty about it. But then, I decided to find time whenever I could. If I’m in the van by myself (which isn’t often), I leave the radio off and pray for whatever comes to mind. I go to the pool two mornings a week and I pray for my family while exercising. My prayers to God for myself come at random times throughout the day or week (was just having one of those conversations with Him this morning). At this point in my life, this is what works. But, I’m trying to carve out more time when I can sit down with journal and pen again and pour out my heart to Him.

  29. 279
    Victoria says:

    I’m one of those that is struggling with finding time for anything these days! And sometimes, I just don’t know what to pray for people, aside from God’s will. Or what to pray for myself for that matter…as of today, I am pretty much oblivious to what I should be doing for God’s Kingdom…I guess that is my biggest prayer to God. What am I supposed to be doing here!?!

  30. 280
    Lisa says:

    I read His Word about 10-15 mins twice a week. I married an unbeliever so I know I have to pray twice as hard, twice as much, for many, many reasons. But I don’t, and I don’t even have children yet! I miss the Lord during those days when I am not alone with Him. I know deep in my heart my first Love waits for me, longs for my attention and quietness. Laziness is my sin. But I do read Daily Devotionals in my email, talk to Him throughout the day through my thoughts, and read this blog (that has to count, right, as in, this blog further ignites my faith and love for Jesus).

    I don’t like some of the “formulas” churches have taught how to pray. Its about your own relationship with God, therefore your own communication style you have with Him, right? Whether we read first, admit first, request first, etc., our hearts just need to be right with the Lord at the end of our time with Him.

  31. 281
    Nicole says:

    Thank you for the P.S. Beth! I am a young mom of three beautiful children (5 1/2, 3 and 3 months)…right now I truly feel like I’m just losing my mind, literally, I am forgetful and scatterbrained! I have a deep desire to pray, and 10 minutes, if I’m lucky, is a good day! One verse that is carrying my through this time is Isaiah 40:11 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” So I confess right now my prayer life is not very exciting, but I pray that through all this I can still grow in my walk with Him, as I relie on Him more and more and see my shepherd gently leading me…I think it’s an awesome image to have!

  32. 282
    Nichole H says:

    This is definitely an area that I think is more desperate when I’m in crisis. I have the privilege of being a part of our church worship team. A group of us meet on Tuesdays at noon in the sanctuary of our church for an hour and just worship. There are a handful of other people who show up to do the same. It’s not about performance…it’s pure intercessory worship. We often start out singing a song and then just go where the Holy Spirit takes us musically. It’s beautiful. It’s changing me in ways I had no idea was possible. Every week I arrive desperate for the Lord knowing that He will indeed show up and something will be changed in the Spirit…for my family, for our church, for our nation, for the world. Because we can’t be in His presence without being transformed in some way. Sorry this was longer than I thought it would be, but it’s really really cool.

  33. 283
    Cindy says:

    I am an early riser and take a walk at 4:00 am. It is so peaceful and that is the time that I spend just loving the Lord and worshipping Him. We have such sweet time together! When I get back I pray the prayers that are in the back of your Get Out of That Pit book filling in with my own words. I have my time in His Word and then spend some time in intercessory prayer. Then I listen to praise music and sing my heart out while I get ready for the day. I should mention that It was not always this way. I raised four kids and know what a challenge it can be to find a minute to yourself.

  34. 284
    Lynda from Libertyville, IL says:

    When I was a young mother and grappling with the fact that I had such limited time to spend in prayer, a much older, much wiser woman said to me, “Lynda, do you do the dishes?” O course, I responded, “Yes.” “Do you make the beds?” she asked. Again, I replied, “Yes.” She continued to ask me about very mundane daily activities that every young mother would do throughout her day. Then she said, “That is your prayer time. God doesn’t care if you are in a prayer closet. He wants you to talk with Him. Talk with Him throughout your day. Eventually, you will have more time, but don’t let not having the RIGHT time keep you from using the time you DO have to spend with your Father.”

    Wise words. I learned during that stage that whispered quick conversations were better than nothing. Years have gone by. Now I have more time. I pray in the morning. I pray in the car. I pray in the shower. I end my day with prayer. And, yes, I have a list. But I don’t have a schedule of 30 minutes here or there just for prayer. Maybe I should.

    I’ll have to pray about that! 🙂

    I love your ministry, Beth!

  35. 285
    Suzanne says:

    I also have been struggling with prayer. I keep saying to myself “I don’t pray enough.” And I do not. But one thing that stopped me up short and helped me with this is this: The fact that the God of the universe wants to sit beside me and talk to me, commune with me. Mentally I just picture Him there and the conversation flows. I am beyond floored that the God of this universe wants time with me. When I try to grasp that concept it just brings me up short and overwhelms me. And He knows me, so we can talk about me. How refreshing to be honest with someone who can help. “I stand amazed..”

  36. 286
    Angie W. says:

    This post makes me cry. I know a girl who used to journal long prayers between herself and God, longing for His input and transformation. That was pre-three small children and now the same girl who used to have her Biblestudy done in advance, long journal sessions and pursued her own personal Bible studies finds it hard to get her Bible open. I know this is a stage (#3 is less than 2 weeks old) but I miss it. And prayer…you mean prayer beyond “Help me, Lord!”? Well, it is rare and I can feel guilty (without this post, not because of it) that I’m not a better intercessor for my family, friends, church and country, not to mention all the disasters. Isaiah 40:11 is my comfort. His grace is enough.

  37. 287
    Judy says:

    Beth, how interesting that you’ve hit on a subject that my husband and I have been discussing lately! My personal prayer life seems to ebb and flow, depending on what’s going on in my life and family–I hate letting the world interfer with my time (and relationship) with God. Sometimes it feels very dry to me, which I find sad and quite honestly, upsetting. But then there are times when I can really feel God’s presence, as if Jesus is sitting next to me just waiting for me to ask Him something. I have found that the scripture memorization really helps during the dry times and allows me to shift my focus from ‘it’s all about me’ to being all about God.

  38. 288
    Rachel says:

    Great post Mama Beth! Thanks for your encouragement. My two deterrants to prayer are 4 and 15 months. 🙂 I actually had a healthier prayer life with a newborn…midnight and three A.M. feedings are an excellent time to pray! 🙂 So now that I have my youngest weaned I am trying to redefine and carve out that time for prayer. It’s definitely not easy. It seems like every time I get settled in for some good one-on-one time I get interrupted, but I’m working on it! One day at a time.

  39. 289
    sepik-meri katie says:

    I don’t even know if this is really in response to the “balance” I’ve found in prayer… but it’s something that has come up in my bible study as we’ve been in kings and I’ve taken up a new perspective from King Hezekiah. In 2 Kings 19, Hezekiah takes a really scary and threatening situation and “spreads it out before the Lord”. I love that; it’s just like saying “God, look!! Look what they said, look what happened” -and then God says basically BECAUSE you have PRAYED… I heard you. I tend to think that because a situation is whirling around in my head, that I’m “probably” praying about it. Or that God knows I want to hear from Him. But how significant it is to HIM that we on-purpose spread it out before Him. He sees our thoughts and knows our hearts, but like overhearing a conversation from the other room and knowing the answer, you aren’t going to intercept when they aren’t talking to you. I am just really challenged with this, and trying to get my head around the depth of God’s desire for our hearts and how reflective our prayers are of that!

  40. 290
    Bri says:

    As I sit at my workspace and read the comments, my heart is drawn the reality surrounding (what my mother always called) ‘dangerous prayers’. I find often within the confines of American conceptual business, we so often get lost in the repentant prayers of “I blew it again Lord” and fail to enter into the throne room asking the Almighty to interfere with our lives. I can testify, though quite simply, the truth of the Holy Spirit’s desire to interrupt what we call schedules, and call us to a life of radical obedience to prayer. He is always faithful to follow through with favor when He calls us to walk away from the present activities and enter the closet. Even now as I am surrounded by multiple unsaved, middle aged car salesman I can recollect the times where the Spirit called me to get on my knees in the bathroom and pray. Let me tell you, He changes things. I am currently reading a small peice from E.M. Bounds called, “Power through Prayer.” He so eloquently states what I cannot. He says, “The pride of learning is against the dependent humility of prayer. Prayer is with the pulpit too often only official-a performance for the routine of service. Prayer is not to the modern pulpit the mighty force it was within Paul’s life or ministry. Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to advance God’s cause in this world.” This man is intense, however, my prayer is that the Spirit would encourage women around globe today with the understanding that their prayers offered in humility(the mamas, wives, grandmothers, sisters, friends, and saints) are a mighty factor in the kingdom shaking of this generation and beyond. Taste and see that God’s goodness draws us to the repentance in this area, and let us not be afraid to respond radically in obedience to the call of praying the dangerous prayers.

  41. 291
    Lydia says:

    Miss Beth, I have been wondering about this for so long! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain how we try to maintain a balance. It’s really encouraging to read what the other Siestas have to say.

    My prayer life has certainly not been what it should be lately. I pray a short prayer in the morning and I’ve been writing a bit in a prayer journal in the evening. I really like keeping a prayer journal. I wish I was more enthusiastic in finding time to pray, but I know obedience often precedes feeling like you want to obey.

    I’ve been struggling spiritually lately and so I’ve been mostly praying for myself recently. I often feel guilty if I pray for myself more than I pray for others. I know I need a lot of help, but I feel like I should be praying for others first.

    Love in Christ,
    Lydia

  42. 292
    Mindy says:

    My heart has been so weighted lately for people. To the point that I am repulsed with the car radio and have to shut it off so that I can spent the car ride to work/home in more prayer. But just yesterday I wondered if I am missing something by always praying for others and not enough “alone time” with God?

    I don’t have any answers really but this weekend ladies in my church are having a prayer retreat. A chance to go to a house on the ocean and go through times of reflection, confession, adoration, fasting, and a time of silence that we all so deparately need. I am soooo looking forward to this.

  43. 293
    Karen Wondercheck says:

    This is a timely post for me too because I was just thinking I want to start using my prayer journal more. I have a prayer organizer, called the 2959 Plan that has daily verses to start prayer with for each day. I had this organizer for years before I ever used it. It has helped me not feel so overwhelmed in prayer-time because I separated out ministries, family members, etc. that I want to regularly pray for. So each day I pray for a different ministry/family, etc. That way they get covered regularly. Prayer is something the Lord has made more and more a priority for me, it really is a privilege to intercede on the behalf of others. It is also what has kept me married and sane! Prayer works, I have testimony for that.

    I do want to start writing some of the more current and urgent needs down, I was just thinking about that this morning. So that I will continue to intercede long after the crisis and also to be able to write the praises which are easily forgotten.

    Blessings!

    Karen from AZ

  44. 294
    Yvonne says:

    Beth, this is the biggest stumbling block of my whole life. I have never been able to establish that “quiet time” routine so I never have spent much time “alone” with Jesus. It is something my heart and soul cry out for but I can’t seem to cultivate. I admire anyone who can and would like to have your dilema but I think your answer is the way to go.

  45. 295
    Sandy Hartley says:

    I love early mornings too and although I have tried to dedicate every one to time with my Lord and Deliverer first thing, I have recently felt led to not feel guilty when it doesn’t work out. Between a wonderful husband who works long hours, a 7 year old (Stephen) and a just turned 3 year old (Michael)- the kind that get up 5:45am often to sneak in to our bedroom and try “not” to wake us up 🙂 sometimes those precious extra moments with my family snuggled together is what I feel led to savor. If I can make it up before the boys (whether by Divine wakeup for me or for them sleeping in to regular wakeup time of 6:30am), then I snuggle in my blankie on the couch or patio as if God is hugging me close as I tell Him “good morning” and invite Him into our day. I pray for whatever comes to mind, others as well as myself, especially my family and the teaching of His Presence & Love to my sons, and stock full of thanks. Usually one or two little boys will come in and join me shortly then I share with them out loud my prayers and verses I seek to start our days with. Each day is different and I am so thankful for the days He wakes me up by 5:30am for alone time with Him, as well as the ones where we start the day together as a family with Him.

  46. 296
    FloridaLizzie says:

    Without reading any other comments, I will just start by saying I live in a no-condemnation prayer zone! I feel happy about my prayer life without ever being able to say it’s perfect. I think too many Christians get caught up in feeling they don’t pray right or pray enough. I decided a long time ago that it’s worthless to fret about it. I just feel so thankful that I can talk to the King of the Universe anytime! Prayer is like exercise: the best kind of exercise is the kind you will do! Just do it! God will show up and bless you. Here’s what works for me after years of trial and error:
    1. I keep a prayer journal with my Bible for morning devotions where I pour out my heart to God, tell Him I love Him, write down what Scripture is saying to me that day, and lift the most pressing concerns in my mind. I don’t think I’d really want others to read or publish it, because I get real with God, and life is messy.
    2. I keep index cards for my friends in my Bible study group, where we pray for recurring and new things. It just works for me better than a journal to add a request to their card or scratch out answers. I pray for them most days.
    3. I keep lists of people by category: Family, friends, missionaries, sick people, infertile couples, grieving people, unsaved people, elderly people, and more. I pray through them most days, and have a few specific lists for certain people, places or ministries. But I write several categories on each page, so it doesn’t take up much space or many pages. Can this become a routine? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
    4. I keep an attitude of prayer all day, praying quickly, silently or even out loud in the car, at work, in the kitchen, when I get an upsetting phone call, when something great happens, etc.
    5. I don’t freak out if I miss a day or can’t pray for everyone. because God’s mercies are brand new every day, and God is always at work.
    6. I try to pray with anyone who calls or is with me and has a pressing need. If you can pray with someone right then, it works better than trying to remember it later.
    7. I keep another prayer journal by my bed to commit my thoughts, give thanks, confess sin, and give God my anxieties before I go to sleep.
    And that’s what works for me. I think most of us find prayer goes better if you do it early in the day, but don’t stew about it. Some of my best prayer sessions in life were the loneliest times or times when I couldn’t walk that well. Don’t be prayerless, but don’t agonize if you aren’t that consistent. God loves you and is always there every time you want to pray.

  47. 297
    Laurie says:

    This is the first time I’ve left a reply…kind of new to the blog world, but not to your studies, Beth…you are blessing in my life on a daily basis! I couldn’t resist today though, because just in the last few days I have been considering my time with the Lord, what is really really important, and changing some things up a bit. As a young Christian I started an intercessory list…that quickly grew to be overwhelming. As I grew the Lord encouraged me to intercede regularly for those He had “given me” much as Christ prayed in John 17, and relying on the Holy Spirit to show me just who these are. Some are obvious, some not. Some are given for moment, and others for a lifetime. So, this “list” changes as seasons of my life change. I also don’t use my morning quiet time for this intercession, rather for God & I things… praise, repentance, arming, guidance, etc. I’ve just got to BE with Him! I get a daily devotional reading from John and Stasi Eldredge @ ransomedheart.com Today’s (5/26) reading was so appropriate. Check it out!

  48. 298
    Jackie says:

    This post is so timely for me…I have been thinking so much about this very issue lately. My life is so full of friends and people in my little town who are very sick or they are facing very personal family problems. Because I love and care for them I feel burdened to pray for them and because I have so many things going on job and family and church related, I tend to not spend the time I want and need to just communing and visiting with GOD about me and Him. I have not found a really good way to balance it all so I use my prayer journal as much as I can because it is the best way for me to really take the time I want to in order to really feel His presence.

  49. 299
    Kara says:

    Love the “realness” of the Living Proof Ladies and our Mama Siesta!! And thanks for your grace – my time frame with the Lord is always changing as my children’s schedules change (4, 2, and 6 months)and I don’t always get the time I like…or I’m distracted by many household things. So, something I’ve started to do lately during my prayer time that has worked out in such a neat way (one of those ideas that I really felt came from the Lord)is that I journal to the Lord…typically just one page. Starting with adoration of Him, then into some of my thoughts, confessions, obsessive thoughts and struggles and then at the end, I ask Him to bring to mind those situations or people for whom I should be praying, I then jot those down and pray. It’s been awesome to see how He has directed and how timely these prayers have been for many people. Sometimes the person is someone I haven’t thought of for a long time and then I find out they really were going through something! God knows and He will reveal if we ask! Love you

  50. 300
    Michelle Gourd says:

    I started prayer journaling in 1989. I could not find much time during the day to have my quiet time so I started waking up 1 hr earlier then everyone in the house so I could have my coffee and journal to God. Since then I have filled up many trunks with my journals. This year, I started carrying a smaller journal so that I could carry it with me in my purse throughout the day and when I have an extra few minutes I write whatever is on my mind at the time. I think sometimes I hope no one reads this thing because I sound like a lunatic. I told my mom if something should ever happen to me please take my journals and keep them and don’t be shocked by what you read.

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