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when you need God to be just a little bit closer (learning to pray on the hours)

Most of the time, I'm just plain tired. Lately, I've been fighting against migraines, and for my quiet time. The older I get the harder it is for me to get up early and spend time alone with God. I thought it was supposed to work the other way around...that when I hit 35 I would've matured enough to have the self-discipline to make myself get up at 5:30 no matter how late I stayed up working the night before. Not so. 

On Struggles

The truth is that this weary mama has been struggling deeply with getting enough time in the Word, and our days at the McGlothlin Home for Boys prove it. The two things this mama needs most in life are adequate rest, and time in the Word. I have to have it. I crave it. And yet, I often find it so hard to gather enough time in my day into one big chunk to actually feel like I've entered into the presence of God.

And ladies, in the presence of God is where we find our joy, isn't it? Our strength to keep going?

Maybe that's why I've been so tired.

So I decided to try a little experiment. It just popped into my head one Saturday morning as I was praying for some words to encourage a small group of women for the weekend. It went something like this:

Thought for the day: If the weekend seems long, and your to-do list overwhelming, pause and ask God for grace one hour at a time. Really. Set the alarm on your phone to go off on the hour, every hour, and pause to ask God for grace for the hour to come.

when you need God to be a little bit closer (learning to pray on the hours)

Praying on the Hours

I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever think of praying on the hours. People have been seeking God at specific times of the day for...well...ever I think. But it's maybe the first time I've ever needed God desperately enough to be a bit closer to me throughout the day that I would try it myself.

So right there at my kitchen table that Saturday I pulled out my iPhone and set the alarm to go off on the next hour. My prayers usually sound something like this:

"Father God, thank You so much for meeting all of our needs [insert specific praises from the previous hour]. I'm so grateful to serve You, and I want to do it well. Please extend Your grace and give us Your mercy in the next hour as we [specific requests for the next hour]."

Just that simple.

The first day was glorious. The second day that dinger was a little annoying, but I prayed anyway. The third day I forgot to set the alarm altogether. The fourth day I got back on the horse, determined to remember, and ready to enjoy connecting with my Savior several times a day. The fifth day I forgot again. And so on...

They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit.

And I'm on week two. But I'm pressing on because as it turns out, connecting my heart in prayer with the Father several times throughout the day has some immediate benefits.

1. Self-discipline

Something I'm not that great at, but that I sense the Lord wanting to work on. Praying on the hours makes for a great test of self-discipline and follow-through.

2. Lead by example

It only took a few dings that first day for my boys to start asking what in the world I was doing. Now, they call me on it. "Mom, aren't you going to pray? Your phone's going off." And when I'm with them, we pray together out loud. Any opportunity I can find to pray out loud around, over, or for them becomes wonderful training in their own prayer life. When they get to see God answering specific prayers it's just the icing on the cake.

3. Calm in the storm

I don't know about you but my life is C-R-A-Z-Y sometimes. Capes fly, boys streak, feet stomp, tempers sometimes flare, and laughter (loud laughter mind you) floats through the house all. the. time. Sometimes my house is so loud I find it hard to think, much less remember to ask God for help, or control my emotions. Setting the alarm on my phone gives me permission in everyone's eyes to stop, be quiet, and invite God into the next hour of our lives. It's pretty amazing.

4. Connect the dots

We live in a fragmented world, with all matters of noise vying for our attention in a single moment. Stopping to pray multiple times a day somehow causes my world to slow down, and makes me feel less tempted to snap my attention (or my emotions) from place to place, object to object.

Mama, if you're feeling like you need God to be just a little bit closer to you in your day, would you try praying on the hours with me for the next 30 days? If so, make the commitment firm by saying a simple, "I will!" in the comments, and decide now that you'll work through the ups and downs.

In fact, tell the world you're praying on the hours by using the hashtag #PrayingOnTheHours on Twitter and Instagram. Let's encourage each other to draw closer to God in our daily lives, allowing Him the right to speak into our moments and asking Him to give grace in each hour.


Brooke McGlothlin,

photo credit: geri-jean

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