How to Make Room in Your Busy Life for Prayer
Putting Jesus first and making prayer a priority is the key to finding the peace, strength, and joy that we all long for. And yet, many of us would have to admit that we’ve got our thinking regarding busyness and prayer backwards. I mean, let’s be honest – as busy women, prayer often becomes that one project that we’ll “get to eventually," like cleaning the cobwebs from the vaulted ceiling or writing a cookbook. With so many demands upon our time and energy, most of us conclude that the only real “prayer life" we can have are those short bursts of heavenly appeal (i.e. help, Lord!) during the stressful moments of our day. I’ve been there – many times. The busier I am, the less practical prayer seems.
But I have come to realize that when prayer seems the most unrealistic, that’s when I need it the most. In fact, the “too busy NOT to pray" principle has revolutionized my life.
Just a few years ago, our four children were all ages four and under. Three were in diapers at once, and the noise level in our house rivaled the “Who’s Down in Whoville" on Christmas morning. Spending quality time with Christ each day felt next to impossible. I reasoned, “Surely He understands how many important things I need get done. He won’t mind if I just whisper a few hurried prayers here and there as I’m scurrying around!"
But no matter how many times I resorted to this mindset, I continued to feel His gentle whisper to my soul, inviting me to come away from my hustle and bustle and sit at His feet, just as Mary did.
So finally, I began to “make room" in my life for true prayer, even though it was far from convenient. I asked God to show me the pockets of time during my day that I could steal away to be with Him, such as when the children were napping or when my husband could take charge of things for a while. I asked God to equip me with the discipline to get up earlier when needed, and to make my time with Christ a far higher priority than temporal distractions like social media and movies. After all, which was truly more important– checking the latest news on Facebook, or cultivating a personal relationship with my King?
As I began to live by the “too busy NOT to pray" principle, I was amazed at what happened. Suddenly, life became fruitful instead of frustrating. No, my responsibilities and demands did not go away. But instead of rushing around in a stressful frenzy, I now had supernatural strength to tackle my daily challenges calmly and joyfully. My “defeated and overwhelmed" perspective was replaced with a victorious, conquering one.
I have come to realize that I cannot truly thrive in any area of my life unless I’m spending purposeful time in His presence on a regular basis.
Jesus told a parable about a rich man who prepared a great supper and sent word to those who were invited, saying, “Come, for all things are now ready."
But each one of them gave a reason why it was impractical for them to come, saying, “I have something more important to do; I ask you to have me excused."
(see Luke 14:16-21) Our loving Redeemer is waiting at the banqueting table, eagerly longing to commune with us and give us all the strength we need for our daily responsibilities. Yet how often do we reply, “I cannot come; I have something more important to do - I ask you to have me excused!"
Oh what a heartbreaking response. It’s as if someone is offering us a handful of priceless diamonds, and we choose a pile of worthless pebbles instead.
I still have a tendency to put tasks above prayer. But now when I start coming up with reasons why I cannot spend quality time with Christ, I remind myself that actually, I’m too busy NOT to pray. Nothing on my task list should be more important than making time to sit at Jesus’ feet. He alone has everything I need for the battles I’m called to fight.
The more we have on our plates, the more important prayer is. So when prayer seems impractical, let’s remember that the very best solution is to get on our knees.
"...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication."
Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)
Written by Joy Reschke, Digital Marketing Specialist at Tyndale House Publishers.