Prayer is our primary means of communication with God, and it is only through God that we have the strength, abilities and wisdom we need to face a busy day. But when we’re so busy, when is there time to pray? My answer may surprise you: Always. We don’t have to stop everything in order to pray. Instead, let these short, simple prayers run through your mind as you go about your everyday tasks—your conversation with God will become a soundtrack underscoring your ordinary days, transforming them into something extraordinarily beautiful and meaningful.
1. Thank you for this day.
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV)
Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you that you hold all of our days and know everything that will happen today. Please, go before me today. Give me strength in the midst of weariness and hope in the midst of any frustrations or hurts. I need you Lord, every hour, I need you. I surrender this day to you, trusting in your mercy, strength and grace.
2. Be with me.
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 118:6)
Lord, be with me. Already I feel consumed with overwhelm as I think about all that is before me today. Feelings of frustration have already started to surface as little annoyances pop up. Lord, I give these to you. Be with me now. Spirit, protect me from myself -- my tendency to anger or impatience. Help me see my life through your eyes, Father.
3. You are so good.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Lord, you are so, so good. There is no darkness within you, no meanness, no harshness. You are fully good and fully good to me, even as I know you allow trials to test me. Help me take each trial that comes and see it as an opportunity to faithfully give you glory.
4. Give me strength for this day.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Lord, give me strength for today. I am tired, mostly tired of battling my sinfulness and the brokenness of this world and all the ways it manifests itself: in heavy traffic, in injuries and insults, in small trials that get under my skin and get my focus off of you. I need strength to handle all of these things with grace. I am incapable apart from you! Give me strength, O Lord I pray!
5. Protect me.
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)
Lord, protect me! Protect me from injury and harm, disease and painful words. Protect me from Satan and his attempts to dispair. Protect me from myself and my tendency to do too much self-reflection. Protect me from my own sin of envy, greed, lust... you name it, I need your protection, Lord! Thank you for always protecting me. You are my shield, you hide me under your wing. Thank you Lord.
6. Thank You for the work that keeps me busy.
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17)
Lord, thank you for my job. Thank you that the work I do is important. I am making order out of chaos. I am doing good and I pray it blesses you. Help me see the goodness of my work. Help me see ways to bless others as I work. Lord, thank you for helping me provide for my family in this way. Help me bless others as you have blessed me. And help me, above all, be a good steward of what you've given me.
7. Lord, give me rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Lord, I'll admit it: I am weary. So, so tired. I desperately need rest. But can I be honest? Even when I try to rest, my heart and mind race. But Lord, I know you provide a deeper rest. Your rest goes beyond sleep - it settles my heart, calms my spirit, soothes my soul. Lord, I'm desperate for that rest. Please, give me your rest! I surrender these stressful burdens to you. Take them, help me through them. Lord, help me rest in you.
8. Help me to love.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:9-10)
Lord, help me to love as you love me. Help me love you and love my neighbors. My neighbors include so many -- friends, family, coworkers, actual neighbors, my community, my church community. Help me love these people. It's so easy to love humanity and despise the person in the next house over. Help my love come from you. Help me see others as you see them - beloved.
9. Let me see You.
“You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
Open my eyes that I may behold your goodness and unfailing love, O Lord! Give me eyes to see your goodness. I know I can go all day and never acknowledge you. I repent of that now. Forgive me for walking without seeing. I don't want to be blind. Help me see you.
10. Fill me with joy.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
Lord, you are joy! I love that you are a joyful God. I don't think about that a lot, but you are. Lord, please give me a measure of that joy. Help me see all the blessings of life that deserve my joy and appreciation. Help me even see joy in the trial, as I know you are in it with me, loving and holding me. The trial is hard but your joy is my strength. Thank you, Lord.
11. Show me how to glorify You.
“There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.” (Psalm 86:8-10)
You deserve all glory and honor Lord! Yet I know I don't always glorify you. My sin is a stain against all that I say I am in you. I am so sorry, forgive me for not giving you glory. Lord, help me see how to best glorify you. I think it might start with always acknowledging you, in all that I do. I want to glorify and enjoy you -- help me, Father!
12. Give me a generous heart.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
Lord, though you bless me, I often withhold blessing others. I am sorry - please forgive me. You are so generous toward me -- your unending love and immeasurable grace are more than I deserve. Thank you, Lord. Help me see where I can be generous with my time, gifts and money. Help me give joyfully.
13. Erase my worries.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Lord, take these things that worry me. I lay them now at your feet, naming each of them and lifting them into your arms. I know that you can't erase the situation, but you can take the worry and bear the burden with me. Lord, fill my mind with your truth, replace the worry with truth that you are good, you are with me and that the things that worry me cannot ever separate me from you.
14. Help me.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
Lord, help me. You know this situation I face. It follows me around all the time-- I feel like I can never escape it. Help me! As your child, I ask you Father, step in and help! Give me wisdom that can only come from you. Give me confidence that you are with me. Help me see this with your eyes and to do what is right.
15. Let my words be uplifting.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Lord, forgive my tongue and how I sin against you with it. Whether it is gossip, negativity, lies or rude talk -- how often I sin with this tiny part of my body! I have to control my tongue or it will control me. Lord, help me develop a habit of uplifting word. I have to replace the negative with the positive. I pray the words of my lips would praise you and that gentleness and kindness would always be on my tongue.
16. Forgive me and help me forgive others.
“If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)
Lord, I ask first of all for your forgiveness. For my actions, and my thoughts. I know that before I can take the spec out of my neighbor's eye, I have to take it out of my own eye. Forgive me, Lord! And help me forgive those who have hurt me. I know I can only fully forgive when I know how deeply I am forgiven. Thank you, Lord, that I do not live under condemnation but under grace. Help me give grace as I am given it: fully, completely, unreservedly.
17. Thank You for being in control.
Lord, give me hope. I can't find it in anything apart from you. Even as parts of my life feel totally out of control, I know that you hold it all in the palm of your hand. Easily, simply, you hold all things. And I know you will take care of me. I know your plan is good, even if the trials are hard. Help me give control over to you, even if I have to surrender several times a day. Help me give it up to you and keep giving it up to you. Amen.
18. Teach me. Guide me. Show me what to do.
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.” (Psalm 25:4-5)
Lord, I need your wisdom. I need your instruction. As I read your Word, help me fit the puzzle pieces of this puzzling situation together. Give me guidance. Thank you for giving these things to your children!
19. Purify my mind.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Lord, even if I could go a day without physically sinning -- oh how my thoughts would betray me! I can't go even an hour without sinning against you, particularly with all of my anxious, angry thoughts. Forgive me, Father. Purify me, purify my mind. Take out the bad and refill me with your Word. Fill me with Scripture, let it stay in my mind and linger in my heart. Wash me and I will be made clean, you promise that, Lord -- please, cleanse my mind!
20. Thank You. Again. Always.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Lord, thank you. Thank you that you have never left my side today, not for a second. I know I may not feel your presence, but I know the truth: you are always here for me, you are always with me. Lord, I could not have done what I did today without you. All my successes are by your grace. All my failures teach me to cling to you. All my sorrows draw me into your arms. All my joys pour over to bless others. Help me Lord, each day, to put you above all. In Jesus' precious name I pray, Amen.
Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She blogs at kellyostanley.com and calls small-town Indiana her home.
*Original images courtesy of ThinkStock.com and Unsplash.com.
Originally published Tuesday, 27 September 2016.