You’re lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. Slowly, your mind begins to wander back to all the day’s events. You went to school, maybe a sports practice, and hung out with some friends. As you roll over onto your side, beginning to grow tired, it suddenly hits you: you haven’t prayed yet today!
Immediately, guilt washes over your conscience. However, your eyelids are getting heavy, and you don’t think that you’ll be able to pay attention very well. So, you make yourself a promise that you will pray as soon as you wake up the next morning.
That next morning comes and goes. Your promise is soon forgotten in the chaos of dressing for the day, eating breakfast, and starting school. All too soon, you’re climbing back into bed, about to start the cycle again.
Does this sound familiar?
As a Christian teen, finding time to pray is a common problem. We often lead busy lives and those waking hours that we get each day pass by quickly. With so many options and activities to choose from, the ways we could spend our time are practically endless.
However, if it gets to the point that we are no longer spending time talking to the Almighty Father, we need to take a step back. We need to re-evaluate where those minutes are truly going.
We need to realize that it’s not about finding time to pray—it’s making it.
For the past two summers of my life, I’ve done an internship at my church. Part of the program’s schedule included praying for a certain amount of time each day. I learned a lot through those experiences, and I now have three tips to share with you.
1. Pray Out Loud
There is nothing wrong with praying in your head, but it is much easier to stay focused and alert when you are physically saying the words—whether that means at a whisper or a normal volume. Thoughts will often start to enter your mind and you will be tempted to turn to them. However, if you are speaking, it is much harder to focus on those disruptions.
Matthew 26:41 (ESV) says, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Our spirit may be willing to pray for hours on end, but our flesh is weak and will fight against us.
Not only does praying out loud decrease distractions, but it also assists in making your prayers feel more like conversations. It helps remind us that God isn’t just some far-off fantasy. He’s alive, He’s near, and He is very real.
I understand that the idea of praying out loud can seem a bit uncomfortable at first. You might be thinking things like, “What if somebody hears me?” If this is the case, I highly recommend putting some of your favorite worship songs into a playlist and running it in the background.
2. Get Accountability
When the summer interns would come to the church each day, we immediately went into the sanctuary. Christian music would be softly playing and the room’s lights would be dimmed. In addition to this, the sanctuary was never empty.
As I would make my way to my favorite spot, I’d be so thankful to see people throughout the room—praying. I didn’t realize it at first, but they served as an incredible form of accountability. There was no way that any of us could have been on our phones or having an animated conversation. The mere presence of others in the room silenced temptations such as these.
The summer ended and we no longer went to the church multiple times a week. However, even though I lost that large room full of people, I gained a strength and hunger that immediately carried over into my personal prayer time.
When you are looking for someone to keep you accountable, know that your situation doesn’t have to be anything like mine. For you, it could be a friend checking in once a week or a family member agreeing to talk to you every now and then. Accountability is helpful, no matter the number of accountability partners or the frequency of their check-ins.
3. Set Aside Time
Not only is it important to set aside specific times to pray each day, it is also important to set aside certain amounts of time to pray. The time of day will give us consistency, but the amount of time will give us endurance.
We need to have a personal prayer routine, and that can’t just be praying before each meal. As Matthew 6:6 (ESV) says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
When the interns would gather to pray each morning, we always did so for one hour straight. At first, it was really hard to stay focused and think of things to pray about, but as the weeks went on, it became easier and easier. This is because we had the consistency of praying in the morning and had built up our endurance of praying for one hour.
Prayer is Important
Prayer is one of the most important things that you can do in your day. Because of that, it’s also important that we use that prayer time diligently. I encourage you to get rid of distractions, to find accountability, and to set aside intentional time.
I encourage you to pray.