If you’re the kind of person who already has a strong prayer life going into the birth of your new baby, it can be discouraging when you suddenly find that you barely have time to take a shower or eat, let alone sit down and have a deep and intimate conversation with God. How can you give God your full heart when you’re running on fumes? And when you do finally find a moment to sit still and be in God’s presence, do you find your poor, sleep-deprived self falling asleep mid-prayer?
I feel ya.
After having our third, Carter, I actually didn’t have a strong prayer life – but I wanted to establish one. Personal prayer has always been difficult for me in the sense that I have no problems with praying for others and the state of the world, but I have a hard time praying for myself. It is difficult for me to talk about my perceived issues or things I’m struggling with because I feel, compared to many, I have a great life. Giving it all up to God, even the smallest things, makes me feel selfish and I’ve struggled with that my whole life. This isn’t to say I don’t want to keep working on it.
Learning and practicing quickly became quite a feat when Carter was first born, and I was sleep deprived and managing him plus two toddlers. It was and still is, hard to find time for personal prayer – the kind I have been really craving, the intimate kind.
Whether you’re already a powerhouse prayer person or still learning like myself, below are some tips for getting some prayer time in when you can as a busy mom or dad.
1. Keep your intentions organized
If you’re anything like me, there are some things or people you pray about every single day. Write those down as a list or a note on your phone. Then add other prayer intentions as they come.
2. Get over doing it all at once
It’s totally OK if you have to break up prayer time throughout the day. Experiment a little and figure out what works best for you. Pray a little before your kids wake up in the morning. Pray a little while breast or bottle feeding and do it out loud, if you can. Your baby will love listening to your voice. Pray a little during naps, while you’re folding laundry, right after the kids go to sleep when you’re tired but not so exhausted you fall asleep right away. Whatever it takes.
If you have a hard time coming back to it and feel distracted or off track, the first tip will really help. Just go down that list as you go through the day!
3. Pray in the morning
Once Carter was sleeping through the night, I started working on developing a habit of doing my personal prayer right when I woke up in the morning. This seems to work for me better than trying to do it in the evening because, first of all, I don’t work out well in the morning when I feel weak and out-of-it, so I figure prayer is the best substitute.
Secondly, the rest of my day seems to run much more smoothly when I am able to pray in the morning. I also feel prayer is more available in the morning when I’m not worn out from all that I experienced in the day.
Lastly, Jesus prayed in the morning! Of course, I think he was constantly praying, but you can read in the Gospels about how he would wake up early and retreat to pray before any of the apostles would wake up.
If you’re more of a night person and prefer to pray at night, but find yourself falling asleep, I would say – don’t pray in bed or laying down. 🙂 Stand up if you have to. It’s worth it.
4. Pray during nightly wake-ups
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night to feed or to be changed or even seemingly no reason, pray for people who want a baby so badly but haven’t been able to conceive or are struggling with the adoption process. This is likely a time when you’ll be feeling bitter about parenthood which makes it a great time to change up that perspective a bit. 🙂
5. Pray when your baby is eating
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding can take a long time, and what a great space to incorporate some prayer. If your little one is a fast eater, just say a quick prayer for all those who have nothing to eat in this world.
6. Pray when your baby is crying
I know that seems like a major feat, but when your baby won’t stop crying (or screaming!), remember all those around the world who are crying out for help. Remember the cries of the many children in the world that will go unanswered. Thinking of these will help you to offer up your current small burden in prayer for them. You can also ask the Holy Spirit to help you care for your child as lovingly as God cares for us in our own times of distress.
Praying with your baby is an indirect way to teach him or her how to pray, and when you pray with your baby, you’re intentionally opening yourself to the presence of God. And let’s face it, there’s no better place for you and your baby to be!
I hope these are able to help you on your journey through motherhood in the earliest of years. Let me know in the comments if they did or if you have any tips to add!