Prayer in a Busy Life

I don’t know about you, but, with family, work, kids, schedules, and life, in general, I sometimes find it difficult to squeeze time in for prayer. I never seem to have enough hours in the day to make it to Adoration every week, or even once a month. Sunday Mass these days is more about trying to teach my small kids to be quiet, and hear what I can without distraction; what I almost always hear is my 2-year-old shouting “donut!” during the readings. Because, really, who doesn’t like donuts after Sunday Mass?


It’s about priorities, I know, but like many people I get so caught up in my day-to-day life that often God isn’t on the field with me. He’s on the sidelines — and, as much as I hate to admit it, I put him there. Sometimes, he’s pushed so far off and out that it feels like he’s not even at the ballpark anymore and I’m left standing there wondering what’s become of my life. I’m wondering where he is, and he’s too far away for me to hear him say, “Hi, I’m still here. I’ve just been waiting for you to be here with me.”

I’m not making excuses because there aren’t any. Not for this. I should be asking for help more than I do because I can’t run my own life. A pigeon could run a locomotive better than I can steer my own lifeboat. While we were always designed to be the captain of our own ship, we are not the ship’s owner; who knows how to better operate a vessel than the one who designed and built it? The owner knows how he built the ship with all its idiosyncrasies. He knows the ship’s weight capacity, and the level of storms it can withstand. How do we get the help we need when the seas are both calm and stormy?

We pray.

Why should we pray? (Watch this video from Fr. Mike Schmitz of Ascension Press. You’ll need to log in to Facebook first.)


  • Prayer changes us.
  • God told us to.
  • He wants to work with us.
  • It gives us a relationship with him.
  • He wants us to get to know his heart.

So, how do I fit prayer into my already insane schedule of things? Well, there are a lot of ways to fit prayer time in.

  • Running or walking. Whatever your exercise regime may be, it’s a good time to check out of this life and tune into your spiritual life. It could be silence, meditation, or prayer.
  • Podcasts on your errands. Listen to favorite podcasts and audio books when dropping kids off at school and running errands like a crazy person. It puts a sense of calm and positive perspective into what otherwise can quickly become a frantic day.
  • Using sock-folding as makeshift decades. I know it sounds ridiculous, but we have enough socks to make a full rosary. We have enough laundry to say the rosary for 40 years. The nice thing about the rosary is you don’t have to say it all once. It makes for a pretty awesome “on-the-go” prayer.
  • Daily devotionals. I have a book that has very short devotionals for women. It takes me five minutes to read it, and each ends with a prayer and reflection. It’s an excellent way to start or end your day. You can use the prayers to set your day on the right path or use it to reflect on the past day and focus on the next.

If you’re more like me, and a little less structured and organized — who often doesn’t commit to any one form of prayer all the time — there is an easier way to bring God into your day, every day, all day. For dedicated one-on-one time with the Lord, St. Francis de Sales proposes the following simple three steps:

(Watch a video about the three steps from Fr. Mike Schmitz of Ascension Press. You will need to sign in to Facebook first.)

Step One: Ask.

Ask God to be with you. Although he always is, this invites us to be attentive in return.

Step Two: Offer.

Offer the moment to God. Great, painful, difficult, etc. Offer the joys or the suffering of the moment. Potty-training moms, can I get a hallelujah?

Step Three: Accept.

Accept whatever comes out of the moment with him.

Making prayer a regular part of my day has become part of my routine, it hasn’t always been easy, but with time, practice, and effort, it’s possible. It’s so possible you can get into the habit of doing the above method without even realizing it. It, in a sense, becomes part of you and it’s a great habit to form. In praying, we not only offer God the opportunity to help us steer the ship, but he helps us navigate both calm and rough waters because every situation is a chance to grow. We get to work alongside him in living our lives the way he meant for us to live it.

Allow every moment of your life to be a sacrament because if every moment is a gift from God, then, it certainly qualifies as one. It doesn’t have to be anything glamorous; it’s not about where you are, it’s about where you want your heart and mind to be. So, pray. Offer up your moments to God; good, bad, happy, silly, boring, blah, painful, and sorrowful. Go now, and ask him to lead your ship, even if that course happens to be through doing dishes: Ask him to be with you, offer up the pan that needs scrubbing, and accept from him what he chooses to give you in that moment.

If you have been missing him in your life, offer up all the things. You just might be surprised to hear him say, “Hi, I’m still here. I’ve just been waiting for you to be here with me.”


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