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The alarm on my husband’s phone sounds—it’s time to start the day. We each get up slowly (it’s a process!), sleepily mumbling morning greetings. We check our email, social media accounts, and sports scores. Before I know it, he’s out the door and our working hours have begun.
When he comes home 10 hours later, we eat dinner and zone out in front of the TV for a couple of hours. Before bed, we’re back on our phones for a final check of our email, social media accounts, and sports scores. Then it’s a kiss goodnight and a sleepy “I love you.”
Thankfully, this is not our every day, but even in our first two years of marriage we’ve seen how easily it could become our norm. Intellectually, we know our time is better spent connecting with one another, rather than connecting with our screens while sitting beside one another. Screen time, however, is easy. It does not require intention or presence, but it also doesn’t offer much, either.
On days like the one I described, it’s not that my spouse and I are too busy to spend quality time together—it’s that we’re too distracted. To combat the distraction, we remind ourselves that we will get out of our marriage what we put into it. That’s true for any relationship—including the one we have with God.
Prayer is our access point to the Father. We are taught from an early point in our walk with God that prayer needs to be a staple in our lives. It’s a way to connect with Him, release our burdens, hear His voice, and find peace. Intellectually, we know prayer should be a priority, but how many of us are living as if that is true? Our relationship with God needs our intention and presence, just like our other relationships.
We don’t need a life with prayer, we need a life of prayer. I don’t doubt that most of us are supremely busy, but it’s true that we’re also distracted. When we reposition ourselves to move, do, and create in prayer, we’ll experience greater intimacy and partnership with God.
So, what should we consider when seeking to live a life of prayer?
While we certainly can (and should!)find a quiet place to pray each day, we can also pray in motion. Washing the dishes, driving to work, walking to the mailbox, or styling our hair can be moments we spend with the Lord. If life feels too busy to pray, consider all of the time you spend going from one place to the next or doing relatively mindless household chores. Keep the car’s radio off while you’re driving or the TV off while you’re cleaning the kitchen and, instead, invite God in to whatever you’re doing—use the time to connect with Him. When we posture ourselves in this way, we see nearly every activity as one that can include prayer in some facet. This is what it means to live a life of prayer, rather than a life with prayer.
Busyness becomes an increasingly invalid excuse when we begin to live each day prayerfully. Suddenly, driving to pick your child up from school or being the one who walks the dog becomes less of a chore and more of an opportunity to spend time with God.
If my husband and I spent every day in the screen-addicted way I described above, we would have no right to complain that we are not spending enough quality time together. If we want to be connected and strengthen our marriage, we have to choose to prioritize our quality time spent with one another!
It’s the same for our relationship with God. If we are feeling weighed down, stressed out, and far from God, we should first consider how much time we are spending with Him in prayer. We need God too much to ignore prayer. Whatever priorities we are placing above prayer will be better served if we put prayer first. The excuse we use for not praying is also the reason we need to be praying!
Imagine going through each day with your best friend or greatest counselor on the phone with you throughout every moment. How relieving, helpful, and encouraging that would be!
We can have this—this is prayer! Regardless of how busy, stressed, or distracted we are, we are not alone. God doesn’t desire our prayers for His own sake—it’s for ours! Prayer is for us to be joined, guided, and supported by our Creator. God will speak about how to find simplicity when life is too busy, for example. We cannot hear Him, however, if we do not make the time to listen. He is for us and His invitation to prayer is proof of that.
I’m not advocating for doing away with all quiet times that are wholly devoted to prayer. We need those, too! But for those of us who are finding our lives to be too busy, this is a way to begin. Bring God in to the busyness and watch how priorities shift and time begins to clear out for more focused moments with Him.
Living in a posture of prayer is not a change most of us can make overnight. It takes time, effort, and focus—just as growing in any relationship does. We can start small, training our minds to reach for God rather than our smartphone when we have a free moment.
Today, think of a couple of activities you can do while in prayer. How does it change the amount of time you spend in prayer each day? Try it—because we need God too much to ignore prayer!
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I am Mallory—a wife, a writer, and a dog mom to Roger. I love dry humor, clean sheets, sunny days, and frequent reminders of grace. These days, I hang out at malloryredmond.com, where I tell my stories with the hope of uncovering places of connection in our humanity. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.