In this post, we’ve asked some of our Lifeway Women team members to share how they regularly spend time in prayer. We hope this will give you some practical ideas of ways you can spend time in prayer more regularly. And, we’d love to hear what your prayer time looks like in the comments below!
Let’s meet our contributors!
Leigh Ann, 57, Designer
Ellen Wildman, 25, Bible Marketing Specialist
Mary Wiley, 31, Marketing Strategist
Kelly King, 57, Manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training
Michelle Hicks, 55, Manager of Adult Ministry-Short Term Bible Studies
Lifeway Women: How long have you had a relationship with God?
Leigh Ann: 36 years
Ellen: 17 years
Mary: 20 years
Kelly: 50 years
Michelle: 40 years
Lifeway Women: Give us some specific details about your typical prayer “routine” (how often, what time, setting, etc.).
Leigh Ann: I have in home Sunday night prayer time once a week with a group of 9. I also walk alone several times a week. (I use this as my main prayer time because there are no phone/TV distractions).
Ellen: I always dedicate time in the morning and the evening for prayer. In the mornings, this looks like prayer and worship in my car while on the way to work. I like to think of this as my own slice of peace in the midst of traffic chaos. In the evenings, this is time in my favorite chair or in bed with my CSB Bible and journal. Then, throughout the day I ask the Holy Spirit to prompt me to pray.
Mary: Prayer looks quite different now than it did before small kids, and I’m sure it will return to a more “quiet moments in the morning” in the future. For now, prayer happens in the heat of the craziness, as kids may be running around or as we sit down to eat together. I often spend commutes praying and view prayer as more of a consistent conversation throughout the day, touching base with Him.
Kelly: There are definitely various times I pray and obviously I want to have a prayerful attitude throughout the day. For specific times, I definitely pray first thing in the morning, and as I go to sleep I pray for people in my life. The most common routine I have for prayer is praying through the Psalms. I choose one Psalm a day based on the date, and I pray verse by verse, considering various elements of prayer such as praise, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication.
Michelle: All day, all the time! Specifically, in bed right after the alarm goes off, 10 minutes in the morning before heading to work, and in the evening on my back porch.
Lifeway Women: Are there any resources you like to use when you pray? If so, what are they and how do you use them?
Leigh Ann: The Holy Spirit and specific Scriptures.
Ellen: I’m pretty simple—I use a journal and a Bible, as well as worship playlists on Spotify.
Mary: Praying the Psalms has been incredibly formative for me. Each Psalm gives us a pattern for praise, lament, petition, or thankfulness which keeps me from falling into simply asking for God to intervene in situations and reminds me to keep acknowledging His character and praising His goodness.
Kelly: Donald Whitney’s book Praying the Bible is a helpful resource. I also use an app called Five Psalms.
Michelle: Bible and sometimes a journal.
Lifeway Women: Do you have any type of structure in your daily prayer time? If so, what does it look like?
Leigh Ann: No set structure. I usually pray when I am alone or as things come to my mind. It’s an all day, every day activity.
Ellen: I don’t have a ton of structure in my daily prayer time. I just strive to pray often.
Mary: No real structure at this time.
Kelly: Beyond what I mentioned above, I want to be sensitive to prayer needs as they arise during the day. If someone either says they need prayer or I sense that the Holy Spirit is asking me to pray for someone, I will stop and pray either with the person I’m with or pray for the person that the Lord brings to my mind. I’ve even texted people when I’m impressed to pray for them, and I’m always amazed at God’s timing when they respond.
Michelle: Praise, gratitude, concerns
Lifeway Women: How do you approach prayer when you don’t necessarily feel like it?
Leigh Ann: If I have nothing, then I don’t stress over that but take it as a clue that this is not the time. I try to not let it become a legalistic thing but a spontaneous thing. It’s a relationship not a duty.
Ellen: One thing that has changed my prayer life is realizing that God already knows what I need and what I am going to ask for. Asking the Holy Spirit to speak my requests to the Father when I don’t feel like praying is very freeing to me. Also just praying “Jesus be near.”
Mary: It is always helpful for me to be honest and tell God that I don’t feel like it. I may pray a passage of Scripture or try to get somewhere quiet so that I can better focus and not have distractions that may press in and make me feel as though I don’t have time to spend in prayer or like it is not as beneficial as completing some other pressing matter.
Kelly: I don’t know if I ever don’t “feel” like praying, but sometimes it’s just hard to pray when you feel the heaviness or burden for someone or a situation. It’s at those times that I remember that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me. I also just cry out to the Lord in honesty and desperation for Him to work. Sometimes I will just open my Bible and pray through Scripture.
Michelle: Stop, pause, and listen for God as I read Scripture.
Lifeway Women: What does prayer look like for you in community (with your church, your kids, your spouse)?
Leigh Ann: I meet once a week outside the church walls with a small group to pray. When it comes to family, it’s more of a spontaneous thing.
Ellen: My church is a prayerful church, and I am constantly praying with and for members of my small group. My friends and I also offer each other prayer requests and praises throughout the day.
Mary: We pray with our children each night before bed, and they will certainly tell us if we forget! Personally, driving in on an hour long commute has been a wonderful time to engage in prayer.
Kelly: I teach 11-12th grade girls on Sunday mornings, and I find that many younger women have not been taught how to pray or they are very timid about praying out loud. I try to give them baby steps each week and help them develop a journal where they can record their prayer requests and keep track of how the Lord is answering. Since my children are now grown and live in another state, I often text them when I’m praying for them and ask them if there’s something specific I can pray for them. One of the things I did when they were younger is that I had them trace their hand on a piece of paper. On each finger I asked them specific ways I could pray—whether it was school, relationships, their struggles, etc. You can do this with anyone in your family and use the handprints as visible reminders of their requests. There’s something special about seeing their handprints and knowing that the Lord has them in the palm of His hand.
Michelle: Pray constantly in a variety of settings. Bedtime was really important to my kids. We’ve always prayed at meals and anytime we had concerns. My church still has Wednesday night prayer, prayer before the Sunday services, and altar calls.
Lifeway Women: What tips would you give to someone who might be struggling to create a life of prayer?
Leigh Ann: Work on your relationship with Christ. Get to know Him and remember that the Spirit is with you anywhere. Just develop the habit of talking to God in the car, at your desk, while getting dressed, walking, exercising, or cooking. Don’t make it a ceremony of having to kneel by the bed or sitting in a chair with an open Bible. Think of Him more as having a constant companion at your side that you talk to all day long.
Ellen: It doesn’t have to be complicated! Find a routine that works for you, even if it’s not set in stone or “official.” What matters most is the act of prayer, not eloquent words or impressive quiet time.
Mary: Write out verses on notecards that you can carry with you to pray throughout the day. Think less of prayer as a task on a checklist and more as a posture to be held all day.
Kelly: I don’t think anyone ever feels like they’ve “achieved” a successful prayer life. It’s the spiritual discipline all of us continually strive to do better. I would tell someone that is struggling to set a time, a place, and a plan for how they want to pray. I would encourage them to pray through the Psalms and help them understand there isn’t a right or wrong way to pray—it’s just a conversation with their heavenly Father!
Michelle: Just focus on one verse of Scripture and constantly pray that Scripture for a week. Prayer does not need to be flowery language; just open up your heart to God and/or be still and allow Him to quiet your soul.
What are some of your prayer life tips? What habits have been helpful for you in staying consistent? We’d love to hear in the comments below!