How to pray when you don’t feel like it…

Prayer is one of the most beautiful aspects of the Christian life.

In times of discouragement or need, we find hope and increased faith as we draw close to God in prayer. Even in good times, the daily discipline of prayer is vital.

What to do when you don’t feel like it?

Can we be honest? Most of us have days when we simply are not feeling it. As much as I love Bible study, devotion, and prayer, I admit I have moments when I don’t feel much like praying.

Before I go on, let me say I’ve found the more I do it – pray, that is – the more comfortable I am. And I’m not only talking about the practice of praying, but about being comfortable with the realization there will be days when I don’t feel like it.

It might happen if we’re not feeling well, or because there are distractions around us. On these days, it’s sometimes best to simply breathe, “God, I love you and praise you…” and rest in the moment.

I’m really talking, though, about those days when you just do not feel like praying.

It happens. We all experience it. Do not feel like you are alone. But what can you do to get past that feeling?

When it comes to daily devotion and prayer time, I like to say be kind to yourself. I’m not backing down from that, but I do feel those who are further along in the faith should have a plan for the *don’t feel like it* days.

Get a plan…

For those “off” days, I’ve found a few things quite helpful.

#1 – Develop a Prayer & Devotion Playlist on your phone or another device.

My current Prayer & Devo Playlist is at the end of this post. It’s something I revise often, as I hear new songs or need a change. Calmer worship songs and slower tempos are best for this Playlist.

#2 – Have a set place where you go to pray, every day.

For some of you this is a challenge, especially if you have small children or others who won’t respect your need for a quiet time. Have you seen War Room? Do you need one? I have a particular chair with a lamp beside it – it’s where I usually spend my prayer time. Some days, I end up at the dining table. Find your place.

#3 – Have tools you can utilize {daily or as needed} to inspire praying.

I have a couple of tools I use on a daily basis, but also keep alternative options on hand for the don’t feel like it days.

  1. Your own written prayer to use as a guide {here’s MY WRITTEN PRAYER}
  2. Prayer books – my favorites are The Divine Hours, Psalms, and Proverbs
  3. Prayer journal – be creative or keep it simple. {I’m more of a note-taker than journal-er, but you may find this a valuable enhancement to praying.}

#4 – Press In

There are mornings when I have to say out loud to myself, “Karlene, focus.” Please don’t be put off by my transparency. Even though I often write on Bible study, theological interpretations, and life application, I am a woman who still occasionally gets distracted, and even lethargic, in my prayer time.

Determine to press in to prayer. Remind yourself to focus and turn your thoughts back to God. Grab one of those prayer tools to help you dig in.

And if all else fails, raise your hands to heaven and ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray. Or begin there!

My Prayer & Devo Playlist

This list looks really long! It’s flexible and I never listen to this entire list on the same day. I usually turn on the playlist while I’m getting coffee and gathering my books. Some days, I turn it off after one song or I’ll let it play longer. Find what works according to your own personality and preferences.

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About the author : Karlene Arthur

Karlene Arthur

Karlene has worked in the Christian nonprofit arena her entire adult life. She has a master of ministry from Southwestern Christian University and served the local church as worship leader, administrative pastor, and small groups director. Karlene currently serves with Visionaries International, a nonprofit missions organization founded by her father over forty years ago. She writes at, sharing stories of life, faith, and family. Her mission: encouraging others to build up their faith.

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