How to Make Time for Prayer When Busy
Time for Prayer Even With a Busy Schedule
So you are overworked, underpaid, and lacking any extra time, but you have the desire to make time for prayer. Kudos! That’s awesome! Know that God is calling and waiting to meet you in prayer. But how do you do it? Let’s talk about how we can make this happen.
I get it. I’ve been there. It is not easy. The key is planning.
Here are a few ideas to help you find time for prayer. They all take less than 20 minutes of your time.
Making Time for Prayer
Finding time is probably the most difficult part of trying to incorporate prayer into your life. It will require that you review your day to see where you can fit it into your schedule. It may require a bit of sacrifice on your part.
For to you I will pray, LORD; in the morning you will hear my voice; in the morning I will plead before you and wait. (Psalm 5:3b-4)
Let me ask you a few questions to help you find some time. Can you wake up 15 minutes earlier or go to bed 15 minutes later? Can you cut some time from your social media browsing? Is there some TV or streaming time that you could cut back on? Do the kids have a nap time that you could use? What about time while you are driving; could you spend it in prayer rather than listening to music? Would you prefer to pray in the morning or in the evening?
Have you found some time you want to try? Remember, none of this is set in stone. If it’s not working out for you, then try another time slot. You have to do what works best for you.
Making Space for Prayer
Find a corner in your home that you could set apart for your prayer time. It could be a small table with a crucifix, a candle, a rosary, a bible, etc. It can be any or none of these. I recommend them because it helps you set the ambiance conducive to prayer. But no one knows you better than you (and God!).
The space should be located where you can spend a few minutes in silence, uninterrupted. If you have a busy household, this could be a corner in your bedroom, home office, or even in a closet if that’s what it takes.
“When you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place…” (Mt 6:6).
If you have a busy household, it would be wise to let the family know that when you are in this area, you are praying and would appreciate it if they would not interrupt you. You could also invite them to use your prayer space for their own prayers. You could also put a sign on the door to gently remind them that you are in prayer.
Making Your Heart Ready for Prayer
If you are reading this blog post, it’s because you want to pray. You want this time with God. So your heart is ready for prayer. He is calling you and you are responding.
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Lately, I’ve been tuning into a perpetual adoration YouTube channel that has soft music in the background for my time in prayer. I breathe in deeply trying to calm down my thoughts and anxieties, so I can spend these few minutes in prayer. After a few minutes of just breathing and calling on His presence, I begin my prayer with the sign of the cross. I am now ready!
Making Prayer Part of Your Day
There isn’t one way to pray. There are around 10 forms of prayer in the Bible alone. I’ve used several different ones throughout my life depending on my particular situation at the time. So, you have several options here.
Several apps are now available to help with prayer. I have tried a few of them and they are excellent. Some of these have options to subscribe, but I’ve only used the free version and they are enough for what I need. Here are a few of them: Hallow, Pray As You Go, Amen, Reimagining the Examen, and Formed (several parishes offer this one to their parishioners). In these, you can find the rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet, the daily mass readings, Bible in a Year, litanies, homilies, etc. You name it! Most of them have a duration of fewer than 20 minutes.
Reading Scripture is a great way to pray. This is God’s Word and it’s the way He speaks to you. You could read the Gospel of the daily mass reading, a chapter of a book a day, or sporadic reading. There are several options as well if this is what you prefer. Fr. Mike has a Bible in a Year podcast that will guide you through the entire bible in one year. I have several Scripture and Prayer journals that contain 40-Day reading plans. They are about a chapter each day. I created these out of a desire to incorporate Scripture into my time in prayer.
Reciting prayers, reading Scripture, spontaneous prayer, or just sitting in silence. They are all valid options. Which one works for you today?
Making a Plan for Prayer
I plan my prayer time ahead of time. What do I want to do? What do I need to do it? Do I need my earbuds, my bible, and my prayer journal?
Since I pray first thing in the morning before anyone gets up, I make sure I have what I need to be laid out so that I don’t have to go fumbling in the darkness of my room to find it in the morning. I even set up the coffee maker the night before so I just have to turn it on (it saves me precious minutes in the morning).
Plan for prayer by making sure you have everything you need ahead of time. Put things out on your table, sofa, or wherever you plan to pray. And have a Plan B. If for some reason, you cannot pray as planned, what could be another option? Think about it so that you are not caught off guard.
Whatever way you feel best incorporates prayer into your life is the best way. If something isn’t working out for you, change it. Plan for how you will spend your time in prayer, even though you may be gently moved to pray in a different way.
“If you find it hard to pray, don’t give up. Be still; make space for God to come in; let Him look at you, and He will fill you with His peace.” (Pope Francis)
Take Action Today
Do you have a designated space for prayer? Do others in your household understand that when you are there, you are talking to your Father? What has helped you find time for prayer?