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I think one of the most eternal things I do every day happens when I lay my little guy in his crib. At some point with my kids, I began praying for them each time I put them in bed, kind of like seeing a mental sticky note. In theory, I’m praying for them as infants at least four times a day (and throughout the night), which I’ve just figured out is at least 1,460 prayers a year. Cool.

It’s usually only a sentence and often has to do with what’s on my mind: If I’ve been thinking about money, for example, I pray that they’ll be wise and generous with their own money. If I’ve got my husband on my mind, I pray for my kids’ future spouses or their relationship with their dad. This works for me because aside from having the faith to infuse these prayers, one of the hardest parts of prayer for me is just remembering to do it! (It’d be even cooler if I could know the effects God gives all those prayers! Wow.)

I know prayer is more than a grocery list and God is not some cosmic vending machine. But I also know that I need to pray continually and enter into communion with God, asking Him for anything and everything I need — because He wants to be asked, not unlike I want my kids to ask me for what they need.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Ephesians 6:18

And I also know my heart is “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it”! I need post-its in my mind and in my routine to call me back to God over and over (as if sibling rivalry’s not enough).

There are other reminders throughout the day, even times to pray out loud with my kids, like before meals. We also pray together in the car about things we’re talking about, askking for wisdom and love for teachers before we get to church, or thanking God when we’ve gotten groceries. I have a daily prayer calendar from Compassion that I have sitting in the bathroom — one of the few times I have alone. (But let’s be realistic; that doesn’t always happen.)

You can also keep an index card to remind you to pray for something different for each day of the week — maybe while you’re brushing your teeth. Another friend of mine would put the requests in a page protector and stick them to the shower wall with water. Maybe it would be on a walk; my mom praises on the way to her destination and makes requests on the way back. If you want to pray — and thank God! — for something different every day, try something like this:

  • Sunday: my church and its leaders
  • Monday: my husband; his and my work
  • Tuesday: my kids; their school
  • Wednesday: missionaries; unbelieving friends and neighbors; ministries
  • Thursday: my parents and siblings; country, government (from the local level up to national), armed forces
  • Friday: me; my family’s future
  • Saturday: my friends; the poor; orphans and widows

Once I get into the habit of praying — which is good — it’s still a challenge for me to make sure it’s something meaningful and sincere! But I think my kids give me plenty of reasons to pray earnestly. Like for patience. (… And please hurry.)

Any prayer tips that work for you?