So, how do you balance your prayer life??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  1. 301
    Michele says:

    Well, I don’t know if it’s organization or just I am getting older and can’t remember a stinkin’ thing unless I write it down (sometimes that doesn’t even help! Help me, Lord! Seriously. Got another birthday coming up next week!!)

    But, anyways…I have a notebook that I keep with people and prayer requests, daily things to pray for and the ongoings of life.

    When I was younger, I would write in a journal everyday to Jesus. Writing really helped me to “talk” things out with Him…(on paper).

  2. 302
    Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this discussion, I so want some victory and rythem in this. I am one of those moms of three young sweet things but I have been so discouraged in my prayer life and quiet time with the Lord. Getting up early is my only answer but my weariness is a constant battle. Im open to suggestions or ideas.

    • 302.1
      Brooke Dean says:

      I face this same stuggle as well my sister. I am pushing through daily to find time with our Jesus. However I have started spending extra time before bed with my kids in a time of Bible reading and prayer, I am amazed at how much they really love it, I found a bible that’s easy for them to understand and we unite and take turns praying every night. It has given me a “little” extra time with God that I hadn’t had before. I have also found that listening to books on take as allowed me to get in some good study or encouragement in the midst of laundry and snotty noses. I agree with the other ladies that a prayer journel is essential and honestly I need to get back into the habit of writting in mine, But in those few moments of peace between naps and the next meal just breathe one moment at a time, pray without ceasing in your heart, play worship music, let it fill your home, I find my two year old singing along often. Precious our these moments They will pass far more quickly then we know. Be blessed my sister, May you find those precious moments with Him I’m battling with you, your not alone!

    • 302.2
      Debbie from Virginia says:

      I am right where you are! I try to make any minute of peace (and they are few) a minute to remember a scripture, sing a bit of a song, or shoot a quick arrow prayer to God. Some days it is all I can manage right now.

  3. 303
    Diane Bailey says:

    I am connectic in my prayer life as well as study. I need to write so that I can focus.

    What has been so wonderful lately, is that I will have a particular thought going through my mind, and then feel impressed to look up a specific scripture. Then Low and Behold the scripture is talking about the thought I was just having. I just LOVE how the Lord moves.

    And then I begin to write it all down, along with the wisdom and knowledge He sends to accompany the thought and scripture.

    What a mighty God we serve!

  4. 304
    Lauren says:

    Beth,
    I am really glad you posted this. I have been so negligent about my prayer life. I’m full of “I need this” and “Bless me with that”. As I am reading more and more of His Word, though, I have longed to be a better pray-er. I want to be one of those who prays continually, day in and day out, and has words of praise always. That being said, I’ve tried to turn off the radio in my car and talk to God on my morning commute to work. I still find that I am doing a lot of talking, but I’m thinking maybe there is a learning curve to prayer? We are each individuals and God expects us to be no less. I just know that I want Him to be the focus of my day, every day, and having an intentional prayer time helps me do just that. Pray for me, when you have your list to interceed for, and you’ll be on my list, too! =)

  5. 305
    Andrea Heiniger says:

    THANK YOU for sharing this, Beth!! I am a mother of a 7 year old, 4 year old, and 4 month old. I have never had a regular, consistent, prayer life ( and now my life is busier than ever – but with so much more to pray for!) I often have a hard time knowing how to pray and knowing what to pray for! I am terrible at keeping a journal. I am better when I can put my thoughts down on paper. I am an obsessive list maker. At the start of this year I decided to approach in a format style in my prayer journal. Making a list of things I am thankful for and am prayerful about. I have often failed to be consistent. My bible study is planning to meet for prayer meeting every other week instead of doing an actual study over the summer. We are using Sylvia Gunter’s For the Family as our guide. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I have been praying for motivation and inspiration as I start this ‘journey’. I know God is using this post to get my rear in gear! πŸ™‚ God Bless!

  6. 306
    Jane Smolen says:

    Seriously, Girls, we need and AMEN button to push on these! I have been so blessed reading through the comments- Thank you Beth for facilitating! Thank you GOD for these women!

  7. 307
    Steadfast and Faithful says:

    On my heart this very week, this was! Woowee, He is AWESOME! That P.S. of yours was speaking directly to my circumstance and my distress about time spent with the Lord. Love those many bless-ed little children He’s given me. But I long for more with the One who listens best, and comfort is complete. Women, encourage away, I am listening!

  8. 308
    AlwaysInATL says:

    I think I gave up about a year ago of absolute routine with the Lord….and I mean in reading Scripture, in going through devotionals, and in prayer. I started to let the Lord “lead” that time. And quiet times were no longer “quiet.” Some mornings, I’ll simply read old journals and declare, out loud, His faithfulness in some situations I prayed about. Other mornings, look a lot more structured. Then the next I will just “soak.” I say all of this because THIS has affected how I pray. I talk to God all day. I take it seriously when people or issues with me come to mind….all day. I take moments to pray. I take an hour to pray. So, all of this to say…I feel as if I am “led” more. I am flexible in conversation with the Lord now. Routine is good and I love it, but I think the Lord has me in a season where He wants me to abandon it in time with Him. SO, for me there is no designated formula for prayer right now. I pray as He excites or burdens my spirit!!

    I know the direct question was how to balance prayer for yourself and then for others. It’s just different all the time for me. I certainly have days when I am totally self-consumed…and then other days, I don’t even remember myself

    Does this make sense??

    AND P.S., the P.S. was magnificent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 308.1
      dm says:

      I love your answer—all of it! It blessed me!

    • 308.2
      Samantha says:

      it makes sense!!! ARe you from Atlanta?? I’m here too!! WE are neighbor-seistas!!!

    • 308.3
      cindy mong says:

      I love this post…. it is exactly what I am going to do! God has been showing me through what Beth had to say, and also through another program called “Midday Connection”, that I need to change my prayer life completely!! I want more of God (intimacy)… I desperatly need more of God!! I need my heart tended to and mended as Beth mentioned. I kept feeling like I was just saying the same prayers everyday…. and not getting any closer to Him. Thnak you for your insights! πŸ™‚

  9. 309
    Deb says:

    Well I work all day in a cubicle, among several cubicles and mine is quite out in the open. During the day I send up many arrow prayers to God as I work. Sometimes however I’ll get an email or phone call and I just know I need to do more. So off I go to my little ‘prayer closet’, the ahem…preferably left stall in the women’s restroom. Usually the prayers are short and to the point but I have had many a heavy conversation with the Lord in there, sometimes crying but always sensing His presence and peace as I return to my cubicle and the days work.

    • 309.1
      Samantha says:

      Sometimes to get complete peace I go into my bathroom at home and lock the door and kneel in prayer. I was wondering today if I was the only one kneeling in prayer in a bathroom!! Whew…

    • 309.2
      Tanya says:

      I have to chuckle when you mention the bathroom; I have to confess that more times than I can count I have really talked to God in the bathroom; maybe because there’s just only so much you can do in the bathroom, so there are fewer distractions …

      I send up a lot of arrow prayers, too. I find that, for many years, I have done a lot of praying in the car. Again, while you need to be alert, there’s only so much you can do in the car and so I find it a good place to talk to Him.

      All that aside, I am inconsistent otherwise; I do a lot of ongoing “as I think of it” or as God impresses something on me praying.

  10. 310

    I began journaling and keeping a prayer list back in college. I haven’t always been consistent, but even when I was working full time and had many family responsibities, I tried to spend some quiet time with God either early in the morning or late at night. Early morning always made a difference in my day and late at night helped me wind down. Even today in my semi-retired, empty nest life, I’m not obsessed with a rigorous, scheduled quiet time, but I’m always searching for a time that I can be alone with God to study, meditate, pray, praise or just be still and let God speak to me. I have continued to keep journals and often read over them again and highlight all the answered prayers with a marker. It just keeps me amazed and thankful at all the ways God has blessed my life over the years.
    Beth, you have also been a guiding force through your Bible studies, videos, audios, books, conferences, and online e-mails and blogs. I truly feel you are a personal friend and praise the Lord for your amazing gift that God allows you to share through so many technical medias.
    My best time with God is now when I walk 3-5 miles each day. I plug in my IPhone and listen to an audio Bible, inspirational books and downloads, and praise music. Our God is an awesome God! I just want to praise Him whenever and wherever I am! Thank YOU LORD!
    I’m counting down the days until September 10th at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas! Living Proof Live!

  11. 311
    His Princess1 says:

    It is amazing! My mom and I were discussing prayer just recently. She helped me set up a prayer notebook. It is going to be great for me because writing it down will help me remember. The journal has pages for daily, weekly, monthly, floating requests and answers to prayer. I know this will help me pray for others on a regular basis and also free me up to pray for me. I am excited. I think it is really neat that I just finished setting up my notebook yesterday when you posted this about prayer.

    • 311.1
      Darcy says:

      I really like that idea! I might have to try it!! I always have to write things down to remember them πŸ™‚

    • 311.2
      Samantha says:

      that is so awesome!!! God’s timing is always right on time. I think I will start a prayer journal too. Great idea!

  12. 312
    Julie says:

    I never realized how important it was to pray for yourself and felt guilty for pray for myself. But, this past year has been a year of pretty much nothing but darkness. There were times when I couldn’t even get a word out – I was so grieved.

    One night on my knees, I cried out to Him about me. I desired healing and I desired peace – more than anything I needed to know He loved me. That night I prayed for a long time about nothing but ME. I woke up in bed and don’t remember how I got there.

    Since that night, I’ve prayed for myself everyday. I pray for myself in relation to the others I am praying for and I specifically have a time of confession of my sins.

    One of my friends prays on the armor of God each day.

    Is my prayer life balanced? I don’t know, but it’s where I am at right now.

    Julie
    GA

  13. 313
    Kathlenn Funk says:

    Dear Beth:

    For the most part, I do have a routine. Before I get out of bed, I pray. I ask God to put my list in order for what he wants me to do that day. Since my kids are at school and I am a stay home mom, I am pretty flexible on my prayer time. Most mornings, I do one of your Bible Studies. Like this morning, I did day 10 of the Revelation Study.

    Since I live in Katy and it is so hot right now, I am swimming to get exercise then I soak up the sun and listen to praise music or I just soak up the sun and talk to God. It is so quiet in my backyard that I can spend quite a while out there with God. I love it. It is just him and me.

    Then, before I go to bed I pray again first for my husband and my kids that we are all safe and sound and healthy. Then I pray for everything that is going on in the world and everybody else that I care about.

    Most times, it is the same but there are days that I spend all day talking to him and there are days that I say to him, you know I am busy and you know all the issues that are going on, I give them all to you.

    Amen.

  14. 314
    Janie says:

    Janie in Oklahoma I find that if I keep my prayer requests in a note book next to my computer when I put my daily bible scripture on each morning and daily quote each night I know on facebook it helps me to be more to remember all my sisters in siestaville as well as women share for world salvation. They encourage and post prayer needs etc on their own web site just for that purpose. it is so awesome. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might!! xoxox

  15. 315

    I am totally with you. Except I’m on the opposite end of the balance issue. Almost all my time is spent praying for myself! I’ve written a few Psalms myself! I’m hoping to get some time to write some more. As it is, I pray these one’s over and over and over again! As well as the prayers from “Get Out Of That Pit.” I’m thinking about purchasing your devotional book, “Looking Up” to take out with me to Camp Grizzly, but one thing I don’t do as often as I should is intercession. And then, like you, I find myself in seasons where I’m doing intercession more than anything. I’d honestly really like to be in one of those seasons again. This season of pain is lasting way longer than I would like!

  16. 316

    I love this discussion! Thank you. My before children days were filled with journaling my prayers. I cherished this time. I read scripture and journaled for so many request…mine and others.

    I moved to a time of throwing up desperation prayers through my children’s toddler years. I would go to Him as time and need allowed.

    I am currently praying as lead. If I get the call or text about a need then I go to the Lord. I spend some mornings home with my Scripture pouring out to the Lord for my children (now 2 teens and 2 tweens-Oh Jesus, HELP ME!)I treasure this time.

    I have had some health struggles physically, and I long to write journals again (as I have more time now). I am looking for ways to cry out to my Lord. I am grateful for this discussion.

  17. 317
    Linda says:

    Prayer feels like breath right now. Have you ever been in a season where nothing is really “happening” physically but you are having an earthquake emotionally? Well that would describe my internal state of affairs…
    My morning prayer run ritual is helping me survive my ownself! For years( some as a direct result of Beth’s teaching)I have run three laps around a neighborhood lake and follow the ACTS prayer model. On my first lap I ADORE (hence the A) the Lord. This has been such a great discipline for me! Using a whole lap to just praise His holiness, proclaim His goodness, His otherness… I would never have done that on my own, I’m too self-centered! The second lap is CONFESSION and THANKSGIVING. My last lap is SUPPLICATION. The Lord has been so good to me in these moments in His creation, the lake has become a sacred space for me. It’s now getting light out when I’m running, I’m almost sad! I think “under the shadow of the Almighty…” is dark, but it is so intimate! I’ve felt it in the dark of a new day… His faithfulness is new every morning

  18. 318
    Pam says:

    This has been on my mind for awhile, so thanks for the opportunity to discuss it. I have swung from each end of the pendulum: keeping lists,(I don’t want to think of God has my grocer), following a equation (neither is God a schoolteacher, requiring perfection). It finally has hit me, at this age and stage of my life (just turned 57 this week) that He is my Abba, Father, where I can run, without feeling like I have to perform my prayers perfectly and be me, praying for others, and myself, with balance, that I have to be filled up with Him even in order to pray…and thankful that His Spirit makes intercession when the words won’t even come out of my mouth. Beth, you put the right word in the title, Balance. blessings, Pam in San Diego

  19. 319
    Steph says:

    Beth, I smiled when I read this post because JUST this morning I talked to God about this very thing. Lately He and I have been walking through some pretty stormy times, so much of my prayer life seems to be focused on “me” and my healing. This morning I had this thought that maybe it shouldn’t be that way. “Lord, is my prayer life too self-absorbed?” I asked Him. Still waiting for His answer on that one. πŸ™‚
    A few years ago I memorized the armour of God passage (Ephesians 6:10-18) out of pure desperation to survive the spiritual battle that was raging in my life. Then I started reciting it in the mornings during my shower. Over time it has become the “skeleton” of my daily prayer time … one day when I came to the verse – “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” I sensed He wanted me right down on my knees, praying for His peace to rule in my heart. That has become a daily practice for me and I’ll tell you, my spirit can be dry as a bone but when I get down on my knees on the shower stall floor, He comes and meets me there.
    The end of the passage says, “be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” If I make it that far, I try to take time to intercede for others whom God brings to my mind. But this is a weakness in my prayer life, for sure.
    Thanks for throwing this out there! I’ve enjoyed reading the comments. Sorry, this wasn’t very succinct.

  20. 320
    Sarah says:

    Great post. Funny thing is, God has used your “Stepping Up” Bible Study to better my prayer life. I knew I was in a weak place because I was letting my attitude towards work effect the rest of my life.

    I went on a search for a Bible Study and decided on Stepping Up where you challenged us to spend time on our knees each day. At first I thought it was a nice thought but didn’t know how committed I would be to it. I did it anyway and it didn’t make the devil very happy. I went through spiritual attacks after every prayer time on my knees. In an effort not to let him win, I yearned to spend time on my knees every day. Just a short four weeks later, I can already see great change in my heart and I haven’t even finished the study yet.

    Spending time on my knees is a very vital part to my prayer life. I was missing that act of surrender and pure acknowledgement of our great Authority!

    Thanks for letting God work through you in the lives of others.

    • 320.1
      Tammy says:

      Did you just do the member book or did you do the dvds with it? I was thinking of doing this over summer but really was wondering if I could do it without the dvds

      thanks for sharing
      Tammy

  21. 321

    I have a regular “quiet” time, and then I tend to pray through out the day with what God lays on my heart. Of course, in times of struggle my prayer life increases drastically I’m embarrassed to say. I lift my kids, parents, and husband up daily and pray all kinds of things over them. I need to pray more for our leaders, missionaries, and those struggling with things that I can’t begin to comprehend.

    In quiet time, something I’m struggling with is balancing knowledge of the Word with applying that knowledge. I find myself with translations, concordances, dictionaries, commentaries, etc…spread across the table and I eat it up. Only to question later if I was eating up knowledge or really absorbing the Lord’s Word into my spirit and applying it for His good pleasure.

    I’m one of THOSE people. I like to learn and, to my shame, can sometimes learn simply to learn or because, as I’ve said before,…winning motivates me. And it’s nice to “know” more. But, I so desprately don’t want to be one of those people that learn the Word just to feel superior. I want to know HIS Word because I love HIM. I’ve struggled with this for a while, and I still am. Not even implying for a minute that I know so much…but, I find myself sometimes studying so that I can “know so much”, as opposed to reading the Word so that I can know Him and He can work in me and through me and build my faith. Sorta like thinking that by knowing more, “I” can do more… I’m not explaining this well, but I hope you know what I mean. (and I must admit it’s yucky typing out such a gross display self-importance!)

    Kristi

  22. 322
    Sue Tennessee says:

    I need my Lord so bad today. I am holding on for dear life. Please God don’t let go.

  23. 323
    Karen says:

    Wow…This is timely. I have been yearning for a deeper more meaningful prayer life. God has laid on my heart to approach a friend and offer to pray with her while she’s going through some persecution from the church. We are meeting weekly. I also joined our church’s prayer group. I think it is really important to listen for His voice…be still and know Him.

  24. 324
    Earlene says:

    I’m so glad you have mentioned this! I used to have a special time with the Lord, but as I went back to work after raising my family, quality time with the Lord has been placed on the back burner and I take time driving to and home from work for time with God. Not always the best, but it seems to work most of the time for me! I also have plugged in with some fellowship time on my days off which means I can spend an hour if I can with the Word! Trying hard not to fell condemned because it isn’t what other people think it should be, but God knows the heart!

  25. 325
    Renee says:

    Sometimes my prayers are this, sometimes they are that. Sometimes they seem mindless, sometimes they are with sincere heartfelt tears. It’s relationship. We are sometimes saying I love you with emotion, we are sometimes just saying a simple hello. The thing to remember is (in my opinion) that the enemy will use this against you. he will try to tell you that your prayers are not good enough. Don’t you believe him. Pray and pray away! Pray your best one day and don’t be hard on yourself the next if you feel you weren’t enough.

  26. 326
    Becky Bell says:

    Prayers going up for the Hamils in Oklahoma who’ve lost their precious babies and that God would protect this young mother and that new little life.
    Also for you Karla – for a special sense of His Presence and a wonderful miracle for you and your little one.

  27. 327
    Kirsten says:

    I’m not naturally disciplined, but I’ve found something that has “stuck.” The topic at our last church retreat was prayer and a woman at the retreat told us about the book, “What Happens When Women Pray.” We decided to give the book a shot and follow it. For the past few months, 4 of us girls get together once/week to pray together. We’ve been astounded at what God has shown us in the last few months. He is faithful!

  28. 328
    Erin says:

    Great words of encouragement, friends! I, too, struggle with a consistent prayer time and especially a balance of prayer for myself and prayer for others.

    As others have mentioned, I try to start each morning by rolling out of bed onto my knees and praising the Lord that His mercies are new every morning. Also, one of my Bible study leaders over the years challenged me to preach the Gospel to myself each day. In doing so, I have been humbled day after day – I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior!

    As far as balancing prayer for others… I have made lists in the past and, although I think this is a good strategy, I have struggled to make it a habit. Keep pressing on & do what you can! But remember – the Holy Spirit will also lead you to pray and intercede for others – we must simply be open, sensitive, and receptive to where He is leading us.

  29. 329
    Kathy B says:

    Well, make it quick and no formulas. Okey dokey.

    I do rotating lists. Oops. Guess that’s a formula. But somehow it gives me the joy of mentioning so many by name without it feeling oppressive. As the Lord and I are going over the staple few, I usually sense Him bring a certain group to mind. Then off we go. On some specific days, we cover specific groups.

    Vague enough for you? And almost everyday I ask for His leading, b/c “…we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us…” Romans 8:26. Believe it or not, I had just printed that verse off to add to my SSMT notecards before reading this post. Thank you, Lord.

  30. 330
    Marie says:

    I’ll be honest: I’m not very good at remembering to pray. Unfortunately, going to God has often been my last resort. I seem to think that I can handle everything myself. In the last few weeks, though, I’ve been making a conscious effort to turn everything – happy, sad or inbetween – over to Him. If someone comes to my mind, I am trying to pray for them then and there, and, if the burden becomes heavier, to keep on praying. If I feel attacked or tempted, sometimes all I offer up is a “Jesus, help!,” but it’s better than nothing.

    I have a list in my journal now called “God’s Burdens, Not Mine,” since I really do think that I’ve got all the answers. Under this heading I list all the people and things that are important or need attention. It’s a very real representation of the fact that I’m not God.

    Maybe that’s the best place to start. We are each under God’s hand. Not to the right nor to the left, nor above it to direct Him. Under it. Beneath His perfect and benevolent will.

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    Darcy says:

    Sometimes I feel like I am alone with this struggle of balancing my prayer life. Thank you so much for letting me know I am not alone!
    I actually have seperate times to pray. One is for friends, family, anyone who has asked for prayer at church or our home team. Then later in the day I journal prayers to God that are just between me and my Lord. It may seem silly but it helps me to keep things sort of seperate and that helps me to balance. It also helps that I write things down being a mom of three small kiddos!

  32. 332

    Not long after I became a Christian, a sweet, godly pastor told me, “There’s a big difference between reading God’s Word and studying God’s Word and you need to do both every day.”

    That stuck with me and has been my quiet time mantra for 23 years.

    My problem has almost always been that I get so wrapped in the Word – and even in the work (I’m in ministry), that I go through seasons where my time in prayer ping-pongs between consistent, intimate and wonderful to hurried, brief and predictable.

    When my prayer time is lacking, my parched soul somehow quickly wriggles its way back to the well of prayer where I fill my heart with His precious presence and wonder why I let myself get that way in the first place.

    Balance, for me, comes when I intentionally make the time and take the time to divvy up my quiet time so that I balance my time in the Word and my time in prayer.

  33. 333
    Donna Sava says:

    Beth,
    How is it that God puts on your heart just what we need to hear and when we need to hear it!??! I too have been struggling lately. Before I went back to work full time in Jan (for financial needs for my family) I was on my face daily for long periods of time. Now I find myself putting my Siesta Scripture cards out on my desk and reading them throughout the day. I pray on my way to work…but don’t have time for long periods of prayer! I do however feel like God understands where I am and is meeting me where I am right now…but sometimes I wish I had more time to give to him!
    Love you Siestas!
    Donna

  34. 334
    Tammy Bellinger says:

    Prayer has been on my mind lately too. Could you do a study on this? It sounds like we are all in need of this.

    I lead a ladies Sunday School class of anywhere from 10 to 20 ladies. Their needs are totally overwhelming to me. Each week we start with a time where we share prayer needs, and the needs are so intense, that I feel totally inadequate for them. We pray at the time, and later I share them with the class through e mail so they can remember them through the week. I also hear requests through the church e mail all week, and needs that come up at work and through phone conversations. People say pray for me, and I have finally found that I do at the time, and again as they come to mind through the week, and then try not to stress over it. I could easily spend my ENTIRE time praying through these requests. I love the people who share these needs, and don’t want to let them down, but how do I lift these up enough?

    I too am one who chats with the Lord as things come up through the day, but I feel like I don’t have that time of extended prayer. When I try to, my mind just wanders all over the place. Nothing like spiritual ADHD! I have recently started journaling my way through Romans. It has turned into a combination journal about my thoughts on the verses and prayer to the Lord about things He shows me there. In that way I am much more focused.

    Tammy,
    Texas

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    Amanda says:

    I too have little ones, that wake up at 5:30 am so I am up at 4:30 or 5 if I am going to have any sort of time alone in the Word and prayer before my l-o-n-g, sweet days begin πŸ™‚ I was convicted recently by something my 6 year old did 2 days ago, we were watching the news and following the devastation in Joplin (we live approx 1 hour away) and suddenly he said “mom, we need to pray for them” and I said without really thinking “yeah baby, we do” the next thing I know he grabs his 22 month old brother’s hand, with Legos all around, and prayed from a sincere heart for healing and peace… I was dumbfounded, we have worked so hard with him on prayer and respect during prayer and so I was proud, but it was more than that, the simplicity of dropping what they were doing, talking with the Father and trusting Him to act, humbled me. how many times have I made a mental note to remember a friend’s need only to forget then next morning? Over the last 2 days, I have practiced this, at the stove, changing a diaper and folding the 100th load of laundry…it is definitely not what I thought my prayer time would look like, but for now, this season, I’m gonna go with it.

  36. 336
    amybhill says:

    Let me say right off that prayer is really hard for me oftentimes. It is crazy how effective and life-changing prayer is though… CRA-ZY. Prayer works siestas. That I know. Anyway, I don’t know if this is what you were after Beth (and this is kind of goofy so bear with me), but I think prayer for myself is kind of like the oxygen mask operation instructions on an airplane. You know how they tell you to “cover your face with the mask first” and then assist others? I think its kinda like that. I know (and I mean KNOW) how prone I am to wander, so I often find myself half-begging God to bring me back before Him in prayer again, to do what He has to do in my life to see to it that I keep Him first, to help me see the world as He sees it, and honestly even just to help me pray right there in that moment. Only after I have prayed for myself and my own relationship with the Lord do I even feel like I can “assist others” effectively through intercession. Does this make sense? Sorry- I am known by my sisters and some of my friends as “the queen of analogies.” Sometimes they make sense to everybody. Other times, they only make sense to me πŸ™‚

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    Bridgette Jencks says:

    Prayer is one of the biggest struggles of my life! I feel like I am just constatly praying the same thing over and over. A laundry list. I struggle with the intimacy. Something I’m praying for. I have two little girls, but I really don’t think they are the reason for this drought I seem to be in. I’m trying, but still struggling. I feel the need to intercede for others, as so many have done for me, but when it comes time to just sit and “be” with Him, I struggle.

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    Megan carpenter says:

    Thank you for this post and posts there after. I was just talking to my 4 year old about buildIng each other up! This really encouraged me where I am. For me I feel the call just to “come,” be in His presence, if for 2 mins or an hour… And He is so faithful to meet me if I will just bow my head to Him, give Him my heart, my worries, my praise!

  39. 339
    Heather says:

    I’m still sporadic. I was sporadic as a child; sporadic in school; sporadic as a new Christian; sporadic all through my wandering and refining years; and much to my chagrin, I am still sporadic. This is not a good thing, I know. I’m hoping I might feel badly enough about it to press on toward being more organized–which my life has become in so many other ways.

    By sporadic I mean I just don’t always get up at the same time; sometimes I start by praying through my list and then get in the Word; sometimes I get in the Word first. Sometimes I intercede for whatever is on my heart; sometimes I practice doing more. Sometimes I do it all; and that’s when I am very, very good.

    Sometimes I just want to write poems, and sometimes I get so excited about all I have to do for the day I fast-forward through the requisite religious requirements, and I’m off. Sometimes I don’t even do that. And that’s when I am very, very bad.

    Most times my cat plunks herself across my books and papers and purrs… and sometimes I’m really good and I nudge her over; but sometimes I brush her and before you know it we’re playing with the pen (and the hair tie, and the highlighter…).

    Sheesh. This exercise has really convicted me. I hope you come back and ask us how we’re doing in another month or two…

  40. 340
    Samantha says:

    Hey Beth, and sweet Siestas!!!

    I got this email first thing in this morning and my devotional was on………… you guessed it… prayer! I love how God intertwines things. Anyways, I have made a commitment to start praying more. It might not be the type of answer you were looking for Beth, but the Holy Spirit has been on my lately about my prayer life. It’s time to get serious. My devotional said this “How do you mature in your prayer life? By praying” It’s time I start praying more dangerously, more fervently, more passionately.. just more! For others and for myself. I need to pray more for others. I get sometimes so selfish in wanting Jesus to grow fruit in my life that I often don’t pray for fruit in others. Shame. It’s time to revamp my prayer life, ladies!

    Love you all to pieces!!!

  41. 341
    Patti Broer says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. Prayer and intimacy with my Savior has been pressing on the walls of my heart and mind this week. When I was going through divorce, I used to spend 2 hours each night in prayer, praise and meditating on His word. Now, four years later, I feel lucky if I get 15 minutes each night. Sometimes, all I can pray is just His name and I just start to cry because I don’t know what else to pray. Laura Story has a new radio single release and I’ve been incorporating the words of her song into my prayers over the past few weeks. It’s called Blessings and here are a few memorable words from the song. “What if the trials of this life are your blessings in disguise? What if a 1000 sleepless nights is what it takes to feel you near? What if your blessings come through rain drops?” He’s always with us and hears us, no matter how sloppy or tear soaked our prayers are! I’m not a very good singer so I tell people by the time my singing reaches Heaven it sounds like Sandi Patti. So, I like to think when my prayers reach Heaven, no matter how sloppy and tear soaked they may be, Jesus is interceding for me and speaking fluently to the Father on my behalf.

  42. 342
    Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been a Christian for a good many years. I’ve done Bible studies (yours are my favorites) and I once had a daily quiet time—with journaling, Bible reading and prayer. Then that all (not the Bible studies) became so routine. I felt like it was all just a “duty” and not something sweet and intimate…then I quit. I long for the times with the Lord but can’t seem to make it work. Oh, I pray!!!! But all the other….I would so appreciate someone to come along side me and show me how it’s actually done. Not a “recipe” but an actual tutorial or something that will just walk me through a good way. I KNOW the acrostics…that’s not what I’m trying to get at. Maybe I’ve just been so long, gone I don’t know how to make my way back. Is this what is know as a “dry period”???

  43. 343
    Erin says:

    Great discussion on prayer! What is working for me these days with 3 under the age of 5, is to divide a journal/notebook into 7 sections, one for each day of the week. Use post-it notes as dividers w/each day written on them…seriously takes no more than 10 minutes total to set this up. Then, assign different needs to each day (marriage on Monday, family on Tuesday, unsaved on Wednesday, etc). Each day set aside a few minutes to write down and pray through only needs/people that pertain to that day or urgent needs that come up.
    This focuses my mind so that I’m not jumping from one thing to another AND it helps me to pray through the most important requests every week. When an answer comes to a specific request, I go back and write it along w/the date in a red pen. Great way to look back and see God working.

  44. 344
    Beth Herring says:

    I have found that if I don’t get into my prayer time – my face-down time – first thing in the morning (after my first cup of coffee) – then my day just doesn’t start right and I don’t seem to find the time I need to really get intimate with my Lord. I have had a week of grandkids so I haven’t had my alone time with God and I can tell it dramatically!

    I am at a time in my life when I can do this as I don’t work outside the home and my children are grown and I thank the Lord so much for this precious time He gives me with Him.

  45. 345
    Genevieve says:

    Thank you for bringing this topic up. The way I see it is that I don’t even have to whisper Jesus’ name. When I think about Him, He is right there. In fact, I talk to him all day long. My daughter thinks I talk to myself too much, but in reality, I am always talking to the lover of my soul, Jesus Christ, the One and Only. I have such a deep passion to know HIM more and spend all the time I can with HIM. Life is extremely hectic with kids, husband, work, etc. etc, etc.; I am glad HE meets me where I am all of the time.

  46. 346
    Ruth says:

    I have really appreciated this post and the comments! I feel so called to prayer and blessed by the privilege God gives us to come to Him with the requests of our hearts as well as intercession for others. But I don’t feel like I have any answers when it comes to balance. I am pretty consistent in praying but varied from day to day or moment to moment in approach. I don’t journal nearly as often as I’d like, but it seems that at just the right times, God opens up opportunities where I can just write and pour out my heart when it may not have even been my “plan” in my time with Him just moments before. I also am so blessed in praying through Scriptures both personally and for others, as God continually breathes His fresh breath in His Word.

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    I have recently struggled with feeling overwhelmed by all the prayers laid on my heart. I recently wrote about how I organize my prayers using my IPhone. It has really helped me to be intentional and sincere in my prayer life.
    http://triplebraidedlife.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-my-iphone-helped-my-prayer-life.html

  48. 348
    not a good answer says:

    Well, this very subject, prayer, has been on my mind for over a year now. At first I began to read some books on the ‘how to’s” and then just admitted to myself that I didn’t believe God would answer prayers for me…yes- He is capable, I believe that whole heartedly, but just believed that for whatever reason, He just chooses not to answer my prayers. I believe when others say God answered their prayer but again usually think, ‘that’s nice, but that won’t happen for me’… so I began to just pray, ‘thy will be done’ because I was/am still to an extent, afraid to ask for something on my heart and not have it answered.
    I have a small handwritten poster in my office that I copied a saying on : ” God sees, God knows, God cares” and then a few years ago I added “God acts” to the bottom of the poster….very recently I have wanted to reach over and mark off the ‘God acts’…
    I struggle so much with when people say things like, “claim God’s promises for you, His child’…what exactly are those promises? It’s not for protection for myself or my loved ones because tragedy has come and gone too many times to count…I have thought things like ‘what ever will be will be’ and that seems to make it easier to accept the tough things that don’t make sense…
    I guess I haven’t answered your question about balance because I don’t seem to have any right now…

  49. 349
    Heidi says:

    Over the last 2 years I have been texting God with the concerns of my heart and mind ….and it has been a beautiful blessing to me and my relationship with the Lord. I can assure you that the Lord understands texting! There have been many times He has answered my cries and blessed me beyond measure through a quick(or not so quick)heartfelt text sent to Him. It is wonderful way for me to pray….whenever I see a need, hear a hurt, feel fear, or just need to share my love with the Lord, I just text Him. I have tried journaling for many years but always kept losing my journal in my purses….texting works for me. What’s Gods #? mine:)

  50. 350
    Mary Vigil says:

    I have a prayer journal for my husband, just him and our marriage. I spend time praying over him and our marriage often. I often find myself praying scripture. I don’t write in this journal everyday, but I do carry it around in the purse, so if I am ever waiting for an appointment, I can spend a few minutes with Jesus in regards to my man.

    Then I have a journal just for my Sweet Jesus and me, just me. I find myself pouring tears over these pages. Often I find myself in awe of our time together. I have found that I carry this one around in my purse as well. I find myself writing to the Lord as my days goes on.

    Then, I am reminded of the pray continually scripture and find myself chatting with Lord during the day, sometimes even out loud which leads to interesting looks. But lately I have found myself watching the news and praying as I watch. Praying for protection, peace and grace in the midst of these tragic times.

    I need to get a prayer journal just for my son. I find myself fitting him into my prayer time and I need to be more deliberate to pray over him.

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