Friday, January 13, 2012

Do you need a prayer schedule?


If you are not a person who understands the simple beauty of a to-do list...

If you do not feel a strong conviction that meats should go in the meat drawer and veggies in the veggie drawer...

And if the sight of this:

does not make you giddy with anticipation of how organized your life could be after a shopping spree, then this post may not be for you.

My husband was the one who first suggested a prayer schedule. And as much as I love organization and neatness and all that great stuff, my initial reaction was to resist. Here were some of the things going on in my head:

Prayer shouldn't be scheduled! It should be the prompting of the Spirit!

I shouldn't have to schedule a day to pray for my kids; I should be doing it throughout everyday.

What's next? Scheduling when I tell my husband I love him?! Scheduling hugs?!

You'll notice a lot of "shoulding" going on up there. Yeah, I should be praying for my kids regularly. But I'm not.  I mean, when I see Connor (18 months) gunning for the tallest slide at the playground, there's that part of me going, "Please, God, don't let him get hurt!" but that was about it. I wasn't praying about raising him up to be a Godly man. I wasn't asking God how I could be better at disciplining my kids, better at nurturing them.

In my prayer life 2 weeks ago, I was operating in survival mode, honestly. Lord, help me get through this day. Lord, help me know what to say to my daughter to make her understand such-and-such. There was virtually no proactive prayer happening.

And was I praying for people if I wasn't looking them in the eye at that moment? Not really. Sometimes it happened. Sometimes I had an okay week where I remembered to pray for my close friends, for family not living under my roof. But not nearly as often as I wanted.

Ben and I wanted to start praying together, but we've tried this before, and it's never gone well. And Ben, who has excellent project management skills, was the one who recognized that we were being held back by how much there was "to do" when we sat down to pray.

Here's what our current schedule looks like:

Sundays - Me and Ben
Mondays - McKenna
Tuesdays - Connor
Wednesdays - My parents
Thursdays - Ben's parents
Fridays - Ben's brother and fiancee
Saturdays - Friends

What the list does is reassure me that I don't have to cover everything and everyone tonight. Does this mean that we never pray for my parents on a day we're supposed to pray for Connor? Of course not. There's often overlap. Or if there's a pressing need - a friend who's sick, a parent who's stressed - we pray for them regardless. But the pressure is released.

The list also helps me to carve out the time to pray because there's a person assigned to it. "Too busy to pray for your own husband?" I might think. Somehow, when I'm thinking in those terms, I find it easier to make the time.

What about you? Could a prayer schedule work for you?

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out


Tonya said...

This is a great idea! You're making a fellow list-maker giddy with possibilities!  I've kept prayer lists before but doesn't is seem like they get so long that you look at them and think "I have to do this later" & then never get to it. But a schedule? One important person or thing a day? I'm giving it a try,

Betsy St. Amant said...

Love the idea! Same boat here. The long list at church on Wednesday nights just screams FAILURE at me because I'll never be able to do pray sincerely for each of them regularly. Its good to give ourselves permission to pray in a heartfelt manor for one issue or person a day.

Jon from New Zealand said...

Would this work for you. Sure have a list. But pray on the go. What I mean by this is when your driving (would pay not to close your eyes, as you will meet your creator before either of you were expecting) but seriously, in the supermarket line, at the lights on that straight piece of road. While your loading your shopping in the car. While you go for a walk. The possibilites are endless! Just a throught just keep the list in the car or by the front door so you can glance at before you head off. Even in the Oval Office (in NZ we call it a toilet, but in the US I believe it's called a bathroom or rest room). Just a thought anyway. Good luck! Jon :)

Stephanie Morrill said...

Jon, yes, I think praying on the go like that is a great idea. Wasn't it Paul who said we should "pray without ceasing"? I think that regular conversation with God is vital to our spiritual growth. Praying on the go and having a prayer schedule are, for me, a both/and not an either/or. What the prayer schedule does for me is help me pray regularly for the people who I love most. It also helps me to follow through with my promises to pray for people.