“Do I have to pray daily?” she asked.
I looked at my new friend’s puzzled expression over the salads that were just placed before us. I delivered what I hoped was a warm, understanding smile before responding. “Does prayer feel like a chore? Like something you’re supposed to do?”
“Yes!” She answered without hesitation. “It’s on my list of ‘shoulds’. I should eat right. I should exercise. I should pray every day. But I rarely want to pray.”
By asking careful questions of this brave friend who was willing to risk vulnerability, I discovered that her reluctance toward prayer began in childhood. She was required to pray each night before bed with a father who later abandoned their family. After he left, she begged God to restore her family. She perceived those pleas as the beginning of a lifetime of unanswered prayers.
She felt as if she were the only one struggling to trust God, as if everyone who surrounded her in church each week found it easy to turn to Him in daily prayer.
In reality, many Christians occasionally feel blocked in prayer. Most of us sometimes wonder if God is listening. It’s during those seasons when our faith is stretched. We can give up and stop our practice of prayer, or we can see the opportunity to press in and watch Him restore our trust.
By regularly talking to God through prayer, we make it possible to see and feel real, tangible blessings. But what do the Scriptures say about prayer?
(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement to learn more).
Does the Bible Say I Should Pray Daily?
Christianity is more about relationship than religion. It’s not that we’re required to pray every day in response to spiritual law. It’s more of a heart issue. We’re called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (see Matthew 22:37). To love God, we must spend time with Him, foster a relationship with Him, and establish trust—just as we would in any human relationship.
That said, we’re instructed in the Bible to “pray at all times” (Ephesians 6:18, CSB) and to “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). These instructions imply more than a requirement to bend our knees and bow our heads at a particular time every day. Instead, they speak into our need for a continual attitude of prayer, seeking God and abiding in Him in all we do.
What are the benefits of daily prayer?
I find it’s so easy to become absorbed with my daily routine: get up, get ready for work, take care of the family, and fly out the door to meet the day. There’s so much to be done and never enough to finish it all. When my time is scheduled to overflowing, why would I pause and take time to pray and seek God?
The benefit of time
When I spend time with God, I find I’m more efficient. I believe God honors the time I devote to Him and supernaturally returns it to me as I move through my tasks, responsibilities, and even fun activities. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. When I sow time into my relationship with Jesus, I reap multiplied time for other things. If I were to plant a kernel of corn into a fertile field, I would harvest several ears with hundreds of kernels. The Bible says “whatever a person sows he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). One powerful (and nearly unexplainable) benefit to daily prayer is reaping the efficiency of time every day.
The benefit of drawing near to God with prayer
There are many other benefits as well. By sitting with God each day, I learn to discern His will for my life. Decisions become easier and stress diminishes. My relationship with Him grows stronger and I feel more confidence and assurance. When I pray daily, I more readily sense His closeness and His love for me. Through daily prayer, I grow my faith and draw near to God.
The benefit of involvement with God through daily prayer
When we pray, we’re given the blessing of watching Him work. I believe He encourages us to ask so that we can become more involved with what He’s doing. When I pray for someone, I’m more alert to the changes that come in their circumstance. It builds my hope which I can then share with others.
How to Pray Daily When You’re Short on Time
Because prayer is simply a conversation with God, it can take place at any time, day or night. God is always available. We don’t need a reservation to talk with Him or wait for Him to give us His attention before we begin. We can talk to Him while we’re driving, in the shower, cooking lunch, changing diapers, or any other time of the day. I do like to converse with Him throughout the day in whatever I’m doing, but I like to give Him my full, undivided attention too. Here are some ways I’ve learned to do this, even my work or family schedule is full to the brim:
If I’m going to give God my full attention, it’s easiest first thing in the morning. Just as I’m opening my eyes, I thank Him for the new day and invite Him to lead me in all I do. This works best for me before getting out of bed, before jumping on the scale or reaching for my first cup of coffee. Then, as I rise and I’m bombarded with all things that need doing, I know I’ve already made Him my priority. The rest of the day I can stay in a continued conversation with Him about whatever comes up.
Keep Prayer Short
Prayer is about building a relationship with God and spending time with Him in conversation. He knows what we need before we ask (see Matthew 6:8), so when we turn to Him, we’re simply sharing our heart on a matter. If you’re a parent, consider the difference between knowing something about your child because you saw it on social media versus hearing it through a heartfelt conversation. If you’re like me, you’d much rather see the joy on your child’s face or be able to encourage them through trials than just know what they experienced. I believe the same is true with God. We are His children and He loves when we share the details of our lives with Him.
Our prayers don’t need to be long and filled with spiritual words. Matthew 6:7 (CEV) instructs, “When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers.” We can simply talk to God as we would our best friend. Often, honestly, and in friendly, conversational tones.
Use Tips and Tools to Grow Closer to God in prayer
It takes a measure of discipline to pray every day. There are a few tips and tools that I use to help the process and stay dedicated to at least short daily prayers. Each helps me draw near to God and develop an abiding relationship with Him.
1) Devotional books
The first tool is a daily devotional book. This is filled with short readings that take only a few moments and point my heart toward the goodness of God. Reading a devotional helps me know what to pray and often provides a Bible verse that I can pray back to God. Two of my current favorite devotional books are Everyday Joy, a compilation from the writers at The Joyful Life Magazine, and Gracelaced by Ruth Chou Simons.
I’ve also released a daily prayer devotional for marriage. It’s a powerful tool that guides prayer for couples or individuals, specifically on the topic of marriage. I believe all marriages need prayer and whether you’re married or want to pray for the marriages of those you know, this devotional (31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage) is sure to be a blessing to you.
2) Prayer Journals
Recording my prayers helps me focus. Whether I write prayers longhand or add bulleted notes to a prayer journal, I find it helpful to have a pen in my hand. Prayer journals often provide helpful prompts, walking me through several parts of prayer including thankfulness, praise, confession, and asking.
A friend of mine recently released a printable prayer journal bundle. It’s not only lovely, but it also shares specific Scriptures to pray for categories like marriage, forgiveness, family, and more. I also like that I can print only what I need and use the files over and over as I need more pages for my journal. Take a look at all of the great content inside:
3) Daily Prayer Challenge
Sometimes I need a bit of prompting to stay on track. Since I know a few other people who benefit from daily reminders, I created the free 21-day prayer challenge. Inside the challenge, a prayer prompt is delivered to your email inbox first thing each morning for 21 days. It’s open for anyone to join and, again, is my gift to my readers.
What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?
Throughout His Word, God emphasized the need for prayer. It’s a sound practice to help us draw near to God day by day. Prayer helps grow your faith and develop an abiding relationship with Jesus, so we should practice it daily and work toward an attitude of continually communing with God. I want to leave you with a few Scriptures on prayer that I’m sure will fuel your desire to connect with God. In time, I believe you will stop thinking of yourself as someone who is reluctant to pray and start seeing yourself as a child of God who enjoys spending time with the Father.
You are a Child of God. Come enjoy time with your Heavenly Father. Remember, God listens to and acts on every word we utter to Him. Here are 5 inspiring Bible verses revealing that God hears our prayers.
Jeremiah 29:12 (CSB)
You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.
2 Chronicles 7:14
And my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.
I called to the LORD in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice and my cry to him reached his ears.
Why It’s Important to Pray Every Day
Once again, prayer is about building a relationship with God. It’s about turning to Him will all of our cares, joys, celebrations, and tears. When we do, we draw closer to Him and He draws near to us. While it’s not required that we pray every day, the benefits to “praying without ceasing” (as the Bible instructs) are endless. God is less interested in our regimen than He is with our friendship and our desire to fellowship with Him. By offering even short prayers every day, we see an increase in our desire to be near to Him. As we’re honest and vulnerable with Him, we develop trust and it becomes easier to seek Him more. Yes, prayer is a foundational habit to grow our faith and connect with Jesus, the Living God.