rebelling against low expectations

How can I pray more?


FAITH WRITES: I try to set aside a time to pray every day, but it’s hard for me to pray more as the day goes on. I want to pray without ceasing like the Bible tells us, but it’s hard for me to find more time to pray. How can I pray more?

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  • Praying without ceasing includes a lot of really fast prayers. Of course you can pray deeper when you’re in the car or something, but make a habit of quick “thank you”s and the occasional “help!” When I’m not sure what to pray, going through one of the psalms really helps. I just read a line, pray everything I can think of that relates, and keep going. Also, the more scripture I learn the more I can think and pray about it. I need to work on this too, so I get it and I hope this helps.

  • Two challenges I did with my leadership team a couple years back that really helped me;

    1. Every time you passed through a doorway, you prayed a breath-prayer (a short, under-your-breath prayer) to either thank or praise God, or ask for his presence in whatever you do in that room. Apart from making me realize how many doorways I pass through, it really helped me pray more as I went through every day.

    2. THE GAME. It sounds weird, but you begin playing when you know it exists, and from that point you are constantly playing; you win when you don´t remember you´re playing, and you loose whenever you remember THE GAME. Every time you remember your´re playing THE GAME and loose it, you have to thank God for being present in your life and ask for his will be done. This also helped me pray more, and it´s fun to try to trick your mind 😀

    Hope this helps!

  • Admittedly, I’m older (mother of 10)… and I’ve learned that constant prayer simply requires that the Father be on your mind constantly. This way, everything that happens or passes as a thought is quickly brought to Him. Like dwelling on a best friend or new love, He is a part of you and as you remember His constant consideration of your affairs, sharing everything with Him becomes quite natural. Thanking Him for every good thing you notice and asking Him to help your friends and family when they’re in distress and leaning in to Him when you’re in distress. You might want to start by asking Him to help you be more aware of His presence in your life, to open your eyes to His hand moving around you, to help you trust Him with everything you care about.

  • Great question. We were just talking about this at home. The world that we live in today has created a very chaotic atmosphere wherever we seem to be. Many homes are filled with noise, tv, computer games, etc, and it seems impossible to check out for quiet prayer. If you read the prayers of old, there seems to be a depth to them that should be greatly admired. I would highly recommend downloading the Puritan Prayers and read them regularly. They really teach how we should be praying. Of course the Lord’s Prayer should be said daily. But just remaining in the attitude of prayer all day needs time in the Word and a heart for others. Ask God to make you aware of situations in the day whereby you can say a silent prayer while doing your daily activities.

    I think the best thing to do is start making a quiet time with no interruptions and shut out the world.

    Your desire for more prayer is admirable. May God bless your efforts.

    Sincerely in Him,

  • do short prayers throughout the day. If it helps, keep a page of notebook paper on the fridge and when you pass by it or open the door, write down something you’re thankful for or a request. Don’t stress about this. It comes with time and spiritual maturity. I’m famous for falling asleep during my devotions and prayer time, so this is something I need to work on too!

    • Haha, I’ve never fallen asleep before… But I actually do that already, but I still don’t feel like it’s enough. I do like the notebook idea though, I’m famous for writing random things down and having papers all over the house. So I think that would be something I would do. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts, Liana!

  • Hi Faith!

    Like @lianaseager:disqus said, I think that just doing short little prayers throughout the day is a great way to pray. I do that. My priest said to give thanks, say you’re sorry, and ask for help when you pray. It is just a little something for beginners (people like me). My parish priest recommended it to me as a start because before, I had never really prayed at all unless I was forced and it just seemed like a chore but doing little prayers throughout your day just makes it seem…easier. Then, at the end of the day, you know that you have actually prayer a lot more than you realize and you don’t have to say any prayers because you already did them! And you have to admit, it was super easy. Even if you think of something that isn’t going to happen on that day (like a test on Friday when it is Tuesday) you can pray for!

    Another thing you could test is doing it after everyone is in bed. I have tried that before but then I forget to do it or I just get distracted because my brain starts to roar to life unfortunately. Anyways, I get WAY too distracted at night so I just spread my prayer throughout my day. But if you do decide that night works for you, then maybe you could use the full process that my priest taught me. He said to give thanks, say you’re sorry, and ask for help like before but you actually did this while you meditated through your day! So like, you recall everything that happened in your day. Every event or struggle. Just your whole day. Then, you just spotted an event that you were thankful for. So then you would say for example,”Oh! Thank you for that moment.” It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just honest prayer. And then you kind of do that for every other event whether you’re sorry, thankful, or need help with it. My priest also thought to look into the day to come. Even though you don’t know everything that will happen, you could say,”Oh! Help me with that chore tomorrow!” Just whatever you can think of that will be on your daily routine. Anything that you need help with.

    I hope this helps you, Faith! I know I have shared this advice before but I think it is a very good way for prayer and it is very simple and doesn’t take that much time.


    P.S. I know, I know. You’re probably like,”Hasn’t she said enough?” But just one last piece of advice. My priest said that written prayers are AMAZING! I mean, they’re just a gift from God himself. So he definitely recommended reading, singing, or just silently praying the written prayers like the “Our Father” or the “Hail Mary”. Those are very short easy prayers. And if you would like something longer, I really LOVE the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It follows the same structure of the Rosary however, it only takes about 5-10 minutes to pray. Just depends on how fast or slow you say it. But I definitely recommend those 3 types of prayer.

    • I love the idea of praying at night! You mentioned your priest and the Rosary, do you go to a Catholic church? I work for a Catholic family and they’re really nice, but I’m not sure what they believe. Do you know what makes it different from Evangelicals? It’s okay if you don’t, just wondering. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Hi Okie!

        So sorry that I took FOREVER to reply to your questions! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! I’m sorry that it is late. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

        Yes, I do go to a Catholic church. I do not know what makes Catholicism different from Protestants. However, I could look it up! Let me know! =)


        • Hey, no prob! That’s fine, thanks for taking the time to answer. =) I saw the comments above about praying to Mary and the saints, do you know why you do that? In Hebrews were told that Jesus intercedes between us and the Father, so why add anyone else? Anyway, thanks for your comment.

      • I hope you don’t mind my jumping in, but I do know a little bit. Catholics worship and pray to “saints” and Mary, view the pope as a divine authority (see Matthew 23:9), believe that the bread and grape juice of communion literally turns into Jesus body, practice infant baptism, pray for the dead, have a different Bible, enforce chastity on the clergy (Peter was married, see Matthew 8:14, and they believe he was the first pope), pray using the rosary (50 prayers to Mary for every five to God), believe that tradition is just as much a source of truth as the Bible is (I’ve seen at least two sites in different countries where Mary was supposedly buried and heard bizzare stories like a marble sarcophagus floating from Turkey to Croatia!), and most importantly, they do not believe in salvation by faith alone: they believe that good works are also necessary (not just fruit, as Protestants believe), and purgatory is a safety net for them. (Purgatory is like a punishment after death where they say that people, including Catholics, are punished according to how sinful they were, and when the punishment is finished, they go to heaven.) Some of these issues are so big that they threaten salvation.
        That’s my understanding of it. If you want to know more, you can peruse the Council of Trent ( It’s the Catholic’s meeting to counter the Reformation.
        Or, I highly recommend these sermons:

    • Thanks Clare! I do write prayers quite often actually. 🙂 and I try to use the ACTS acronym (that is an acronym, right?) It stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      • Hi Faith!

        Sorry that I took so long to reply. =( Yes, I do believe that ACTS is an acronym.

        You are most welcome, Faith! Praying for you!


    • Hi Clare,

      I love your ideas of praying little prayers all day and then praying at night too.

      I know written prayers (like “Our Father” from Matthew 6:9-13) can be helpful, but I googled the “Hail Mary” prayer, and I’m a bit curious. Is there a verse somewhere in the Bible which says to pray to Mary? I’ve visited lots of old Catholic churches, and they often glorify Mary as much as (sometimes more than) God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Although Mary was chosen to bear God’s Son, I can’t find anything in the Bible which says to worship her or pray to her.

      Heather 😉

      • Well, I can answer that one for you. I’m not a catholic, but I do know for sure that the Bible doesn’t say anywhere in it to pray to Mary. Mary was simply someone that God used for Jesus to come to live on earth. And He is the only one who deserves to be glorified and prayed to. 🙂

        • Thanks Faith. I completely agree with everything you said, but I’m aware that Catholics have a different Bible, and also rely on tradition as a source of God’s truth, so I was curious to hear from Clare where the worship of/praying to Mary comes from. 🙂

      • Hi Heather!

        So sorry that I took FOREVER to reply to you. I was trying to gather a little bit of info to answer your question properly. First off, thank you for the compliment!

        Well, I do not know the Bible well enough to answer your question however, my Godparents do! My Godfather says that at the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus’ first miracle (John 2:1-11) Mary intercedes on behalf of the Bridegroom.

        My Godmother says that at John 19:26b-27a, Jesus gave Mary to John. The church understood that as Jesus giving Mary to us as our mother, we may call upon her and ask her to intercede with God.

        Again, I do not really have to much knowledge about this particular subject, but I do have a belief about Mary. Although she is not all-powerful like God, she can still make things happen. I do not believe that Mary makes the miracles happen. Not by herself. No, she asks God. It is like praying to the Saints. You ask them to help you with a certain thing that they might be the Patron of and then they intercede for us to God. And through them, God performs His miracles. Does that make sense? I hope it does. Hehe. This is just a theory, but maybe Mary can hear our prayers because we pray to her through the Rosary. Perhaps since Mary was crowned the Queen of Heaven, she “inherited” the ability to hear the prayers of the children of this world. Just a thought. But anyways, to your question about how she can answer prayers. As I said before earlier about the Saints, I believe that she intercedes for us to God. And then by God’s Will, the prayers are answered.

        I hope this answered your questions! Please let me know if I missed something. =)


        • Just curious, what passage are you referring to about Mary being the queen of heaven? The only thing I can find is in Jeremiah and there the children of Israel were told it was an abomination to pray or make offerings to her. (I don’t think that was about Mary either.) ~Anna

          p.s. please don’t take me as attacking you personally; some people tell me I get into debate mode too easily.

          • I was thinking the same thing, I know my Bible pretty well, I’d say, and I’ve never read anything about Mary being “queen of heaven”.

          • Don’t worry. I didn’t take it that way. =) Depending on the subject, I get into debate mode to easily as well. So it is totally fine.

            Now, to answer your question, I wasn’t really referring to any passage in the Bible specifically. I just know that Mary was crowned the Queen of Heaven because the Church refers to her as that and also there are paintings of it. Whether it is stated in the Bible I do not know.

          • I got a notification in my e-mail that you @clarethePinner:disqus had replied to me…can see the comment in my e-mail but can’t find it on here…
            You said, “Whether it is stated in the Bible or not I do not know.” I’d encourage you to study your Bible for yourself on this and see what it actually says. Because as much as commentaries, preaching, etc. can be helpful, the word of God is the final authority, not what someone else or even the Church says. Even what we’re saying to you. Test everything you are told by the truth of the word of God. ~Anna

          • This! Basically everything you just said. Just to add to that read it in big chunks. Try going through a whole book at a time so you can get the idea of what’s going on and what’s meant by a certain phrase. Thanks to all y’all for this convo, it’s helped me think a lot.

        • Sorry to just jump in, but I’d love to hear the other passages about this. So far I’m not finding any proof. In John 2 Mary just tells the servents to do whatever Jesus tells them. That might count as interceding, but it’s not in the same sense as being a mediater. How can “do what Jesus says” mean “pray to Mary”?
          Also in John 11 Jesus is about to die, so he asks John to take care of Mary and He tells him to treat her like his mom. In context it doesn’t look like a universal command, but Jesus showing his grace towards a widow in one specific instance.
          Just a few chapters later he gives us HIMSELF on the cross! Mary was a very blessed woman, but in the end she was just a normal person. But Jesus is EVERYTHING and he gave himself for us so we can know HIM, — He’s infinitely better than anything else, even Mary.

        • Thanks Clare, that’s really interesting to see where this comes from, and I’d be interested to hear what other verses you can come up with. (There’s no need to hurry, because I’ll be without internet for a few days soon, so I won’t be able to reply immediately either! 😉 )

          I must admit, I’m with Okie Gal on the interpretation of these passages.

          To add to what she said about John 2:3-7, the commentary I use says that by saying to Mary as “Woman, why do you involve me?”, Jesus is not disrespectful, but is distancing himself from her by using the slightly reproachful, formal Jewish expression.
          And with regards to John 19:26-27, have you ever seen a woman grieving her child’s death? You would do anything possible to ease that pain, even if just a tiny bit. As the oldest in his family, Jesus would have been providing for his mother, so with him dead she would have had financial hardship on top of that intense grief.

          Aside from that, I’m not sure why we need Mary (or any other saint) to intercede on our behalf. They’re not everywhere like God, so they wouldn’t be able to hear our prayers.

          And God loves us so much himself that he doesn’t need a go-between to plead with him to answer our prayers! In John 16:26-27 Jesus said “In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

          And in Matthew 7:9-11, Jesus talks about our Father giving us good gifts and loving us as little children who confidently ask their father for their needs.

          God is jealous (righteously), protecting the glory which is rightfully his, and he has always chastised his people for praying to anyone else.

          • First of all, we do not pray to Mary. We ask Mary to intercede for us just like we ask our friends and family to intercede and pray for us. Mary holds a special place because she is the Mother of Jesus. Because she is the Mother of Jesus she is our mother as well. So of course we ask our mother to pray for us. Mary has always pointed the way to Jesus. Just as God chose to use Angels as messengers in the Old Testament He has chosen to use Mary. In her appearances at Lourdes a multitude of medically verified physical healings occurred. In Fatima 100,000 people witnessed the sun dancing in the sky at midday and many people converted to Christianity. After appearing to Juan Diego in Mexico 8 million native people were converted to Christianity. Mary always leads people to Christ. The role of Mary was prefigured and foretold in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14) and (Micah 5:2-3). Again, Mary always leads us to Christ.

          • Thanks for clearing up prayer/intercession!
            I definitely agree that those passages are prophesying Mary’s role as Jesus physical mother, but as Okie Gal said, I disagree that this gives her the position of intercessor.
            As for the miracles, I’m a bit dubious because of the scanty evidence and lack of distinct Biblical truth behind them.
            Thanks so much for discussing all this with me, I appreciate it! ; )

  • Make it a habit to pray every night before you go to bed. After a while, you will start looking forward to your time talking with God at night, and you will start praying more throughout the day.

    Also, read your Bible more, especially the Psalms. Most of the Psalms are prayers, or songs of surrender and praise. They often put us in a worshipful state and all we want to do is thank to God.

    • I love Psalms, I’m actually reading Psalms right now. And I do have certain Psalms that I pray as prayers for different people and things, it’s a really good way to pray. 🙂

  • I often pray without necessarily doing the normal motions by starting my prayer “Dear Lord” like a letter. The thing that I’ve discovered is when I’m just talking to God without worrying about all the formalities Christians tend to put into prayer, I actually feel closer to Him, like I do with my friends! Maybe that’s because that’s what God wants us to do… He doesn’t want us to always approach Him like just a King (although, it’s totally fine to do so), but also as a friend, even a best friend. I wouldn’t approach my best friend with a request or praise or gratitude by saying, “Dear __________, ___________” I’d just talk to her. I don’t always approach God like my best friend. I know that there is a time when that just isn’t appropriate, but as I go about the day, sometimes a thought will come and I’ll just think “God, help me in this situation.” That’s praying. It’s so amazing how much closer I feel to God when I do that, as opposed to when I pray a more formal prayer. Just some thoughts. Also, if you have trouble thinking of prayer requests and you can’t remember where your prayer journal is (if you have one) I’ve recently started posting requests on my bed. This has helped me a lot.

    • Love the “informality” tip…and so agreed about the posting notes! My wall by my bed is covered in Post-its with prayer requests! 🙂 ~Anna

  • I would say…Simply begin with thinking about Him 🙂 And in that you will more often find yourself in prayer.

    There is a book called The Screwtape Letters, I think you would like it!

  • I’m reading a really good book right now called Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels. That would probably help you. 🙂

  • Set up designated prayer times, like before bed, when you wake up, during your quiet time, between classes… look up scriptures on prayer. But on top of that try to make praying a habit.

  • Hello faith! 🙂

    I’ve actually recently been struggling/pondering with this as well. 1 Thessalonians 5 :17 says “pray without ceasing.” Several years ago when I first heard about this verse my simple-minded brain led me to the literal side of this verse, Christians walking around head bowed eyes closed bumping into things. I discovered that prayer should be more than “bless this food to my body” and “help me to sleep well” (memorized words I often associated with prayer.) prayer should be us pursing a relationship with God. Talk to him as if you were talking to your best friend❤️ I recommend reading/ listening to the book practicing the presence of God by brother Lawrence. This is a nice option considering that there is a free YouTube video with the whole book on tape!! It is about an hour long. Brother Lawrence tried to continually live in gods presence or pray without ceasing. I am trying to do the same although it is very difficult!! Every time my mind wonders I bring it back to God seeking his forgiveness acknowledging that it is my sinful nature. When I do think of him I give him all the credit!! Although setting times to pray isn’t a bad thing you should aspire to make it more than that!! Hope that helped!!😀 I would love to know your thoughts!!

    • Yes! Prayer is so instrumental in how we relate to God. I started that book but haven’t finished, the first few chapters seemed pretty work based. The idea that the presence of God is something you can just do scares me. If that’s true then God isn’t actually present, and I need to be doing things to get closer to a distant God. Anyhow, that’s my rant. Does it get better? I think I stopped around chapter 5.

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