How do you find time to pray? I set out to pray for 30 minutes a day and frankly am struggling to manage even that! I can usually get in 15 minutes a day without any stress, but the additional 15 minutes is much harder to find, or to remember to make time for. In theory, 30 minutes of prayer time a day should be an easy thing — simply a matter of making it a high priority and doing it.
But is it really that simple? In order to pray you need to get alone with God (see Matthew 6:6). I live with my wife and three young children in a small house, work all day in an office with six other people, use public transport to and from my job and am pretty tired by the end of each day (this last point is relevant!). While I have read some advice on training your kids to not annoy you while praying, that is much easier to advise than to do; my eighteen-month-old son is often up in the mornings when I am and loves to climb onto the dining room table to stand there investigating my coffee! Such antics make it difficult to read the Bible, let alone pray.
As alluded to, my preferred time to get alone with God is in the mornings, in fact the ‘easiest’ times for me to pray and focus on God are early in the morning while everyone else (aside from my son!) is asleep, or late at night when everyone else is asleep. Can you spot the problem? (Hint, I pointed out that I’m tired at the end of each day).
At the very least, making more prayer time in my life will require not only discipline, but also some re-arranging of other priorities in order to be able to spend time in prayer. Some folks might try forgoing some sleep, however, I am in a stage of life where I have been getting too little sleep for too long and am physically suffering for it already, without purposely making it worse. So what is the answer?
I honestly do not know. What I do know is that I am not giving up on praying, I am still aiming for 30 minutes per day but am flexible regarding attempting to consolidate that time into a single block, or even two blocks. I have been encouraged by a blog called The Prayer Experiment in which the author is setting the goal of directing his thoughts Godward every minute.