When Your Days Are Crammed and You Don’t Have Time to Pray
Our busy lives are crammed with more and more. Yet, let’s be real, there are moments of space and quiet.
A lot of times, my margins get invaded by sticky, little hands asking for more of me (which causes me to desire a good couch potato moment at least once a day). Even so, there are margins, and I found I could use a few minutes of those every day for God if I made an intentional effort to do so.
Most of us aren’t working in a literal field like Ruth did, but we’re still working in the metaphorical fields the Lord has given us: our families, our schools, our workplaces, our volunteer organizations. If we’re mindful and faithful to glean a few minutes of margin from each day–the half-hour when we’re driving our kids home from school, the forty-minute window between football practice drop-off and pick-up, the five minutes it takes to detour by a friend’s house on the way home from work–we just may get to bear witness to the Lord providing supernatural abundance in the hearts and lives of the people we love.” Sophia Hudson, Giddy Up, Eunice!
With the plan to pray for someone every day in August, I redeemed some of those moments for God and others. And, honestly, it didn’t even eat into my couch potato time that much.
Here are a few things I learned that helped me:
- Have a plan. I planned to pray to ask someone every day for a prayer request and then pray. You could also just pray for someone every day and contact them as an encouragement that you had done it. Or just pray for and never let them know. Perhaps it’s not every day but every Monday. Whatever you go for, make a decision, give yourself a timeline, and try it out. You can’t glean the time if you don’t enter the field. Also, don’t give up if you “mess up” or forget. As Anne of Green Gables said, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.”
- Don’t be afraid to contact someone at the last minute. Sometimes the day got away from me, and it was late when I remembered I hadn’t gotten a prayer request. I went ahead and contacted someone anyway, even though it felt a bit like a “failure” that I might not get their request until the next day. What a lie that it was a failure anyway!
- Keep track of who and what. I didn’t do this, and I wish I had. I remembered a lot of them and could follow up with people, but I wish I had kept a list. I’d love to have followed up with everyone and seen how God answered prayers.
- Have a way to focus. My best times of prayer were when I got down on my knees beside the bed or sat on the couch with my eyes closed. When it was the end of the day and I attempted to pray in bed while falling asleep, I often felt my mind wander or I fell asleep (big surprise, huh?). Another great way to focus is to doodle pray. It shouldn’t surprise us with the constant noise in our lives (music, TV, phones, little voices speaking to me as I write this about how to make a paper boat) that we have trouble focusing in the quiet. I don’t experience quiet often enough, and my mind kind of goes nuts when it gets a chance to actual hear itself. A way to focus is a necessity.
Things that surprised me:
- Life is not about me. Now, it didn’t surprise me that life isn’t about me. I’m a middle child, so that goes with the territory. It just surprised me how much I needed this reminder. My days can be consumed by cleaning, cooking, and talking, talking, talking to kids. I didn’t realize I missed getting to hear what other people’s lives were about. The simple message to someone “How can I pray for you today?” refreshed me.
- Connected to community. I also became better connected to my community. My usual community on a daily basis involves a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a two-month-old, along with my husband. Being a stay at home mom is totally wonderful at times, but it can also be so isolating. Intercessory prayer connected me to my larger community. It was so good to hear what life was like for other people and to intercede for them.
- Connected to God. Talking to God about others helped me feel closer to Him, too. You know when you’re in a prayer rut, and it seems like it’s just “blah blah blah”? A fresh request from someone every day took that away. It was also great to see God work in others’ lives and know that I got to be a small part of that.
- Others pray for you too. Sometimes someone asked the question back to me. I hadn’t even thought of that possibility. It deepened the community and allowed for me to assess my own life at the same time. And bonus, someone was praying for me.
If you had asked me if I had time to pray for someone every day, I would have said no, but the truth is I didn’t prioritize it. I didn’t let it eat into my margins before (which, let’s face it, could be only a few minutes every day). I honestly loved doing it though. Glean where you can.
Where are you gleaning?