Inside: Do you have trouble staying close to God throughout the day? Here are 14 practical tips to stay connected to God, even with a busy schedule.

 It was a bustling, busier-than-normal day at work. I slipped into work mode on autopilot, barely squeezing in a break. I clocked out right on the dot with a sense of accomplishment.

 Then on the drive home, a pang of disappointment hit me: I never thought of God once during the workday.

I’ve noticed that the busier I am at work, the less I think of God. Yet these are probably the times that I need Him the most. You see, I am pretty good about setting aside a morning quiet time, but not so good about praying once the day gets started. 

But I want to stay connected to God throughout the whole day—not just parts of it. I’m guessing you do, too.

The Real Reasons People Struggle to Pray

If you’ve struggled with your prayer life like me, you’re in the majority. We tend to tune God out because prayer takes faith and discipline. He is invisible and intangible, while the world around us is immediate and pressing. 

Some of us harbor deep-seated doubts about whether God hears our prayers and whether He will answer favorably. Others don’t pray much because we’re used to functioning self-sufficiently. We don’t feel our need for Him deep enough to rely on Him. 

Still others hold back our true desires in those quiet moments because we’re not convinced that He cares all that much. And all of us can relate to being distracted by the things of the world more than captivated by the things above. 

In one study of Christians, distraction was cited as the number one hindrance to prayer. In the study, the barriers to prayer were identified as distraction (57%), indifference (15%), busyness (15%), and not knowing what to say (13%).

On a scale from 0 to 10 (10 being the most satisfied), most respondents rated their satisfaction in their prayer life from 3 to 5. In other words, people had low to moderate satisfaction in their prayer life.

Most people interviewed had not spent more than 10 minutes in prayer over the last 24 hours, let alone stay connected with God throughout the day.

So What Does Prayer Look Like in a Busy Life?

Prayer doesn’t only consist of moments with our heads bowed, eyes closed, and hands put together as in the praying hands emoji. Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God anywhere and takes a variety of forms:

  • a joyful thought of thanksgiving
  • a silent cry for assistance
  • a muttered exclamation of surprise
  • a heartfelt prayer for another person
  • a weary groan of exasperation

God is interested in every aspect of our thoughts and emotions. We already “think” to ourselves all day long. Prayer consists of directing those thoughts to God—it’s including God in our thoughts. 

If we’re making (another) to-do list, we ask God for His guidance. When trying to solve a baffling work problem, we ask God what He thinks.

If we’re experiencing rejection, we process how we feel with God. And if we’re worried about an ailing parent, we talk to God about the concern—before giving it to Him.

As we become more diligent in our prayer life, we’ll become more sensitive to His leading throughout the day. We become more aware of His presence (which is already always with us). And we grow hungrier to know Him more.

This is the essence of walking in a relationship with God.

What’s the Difference Between Prayer and Meditation?

If prayer is talking to God, meditating is listening to God through His word.

Think back to your last sleepless night. You know what it’s like to ruminate over a problem, turning it over and over in your mind as you toss and turn in bed. Meditating on God’s word means to “ruminate” on it, reflecting on its meaning and implication in your life, examining it from every angle.

If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate. Meditation is the positive version of worry. If you get stuck in negative thinking, you can start meditating on God’s truth by saying to yourself, “Yes, but God’s word says…”

Joshua 1:8 encourages us to ruminate on God’s truth throughout the day: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (NIV).

In addition to ruminating on the word of God, we can reflect on a devotional, Christian book, podcast, video, or worship song. We can also meditate on the meaning of a word of encouragement spoken to us. 

In the book of Luke, Mary offers an apt picture of what this kind of meditation looks like. She reflects on the shepherds’ words regarding her newborn son Jesus. Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” 

When was the last time you treasured God’s truth and pondered them in your heart?

The Benefits of Staying Connected to God

The Bible says that if we’re persistent in developing a lifestyle of prayer and meditation, the rewards are many. 

1. God will draw close to us.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).

2. God will reward us with His presence.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

3. God will hear our prayers.

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

4. God will strengthen us.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

5. God will grant us peace.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

6. God will cause us to bear fruit in our character and work.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

So let’s turn from our distractions and spend more time with God today. Here are 14 ways to stay connected with God throughout the day—no matter how busy you are. Pray and ask Him which one you can implement this week.

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How to Stay Connected to God (Outside of Quiet Time)

1. Put away your phone for the first or last hour of the day. 

Have you ever had an “off day” due to having a frazzled morning? Or had trouble sleeping because you didn’t wind down before bed?

The way that you start and end the day will set the tone for the day (and night). God is always with us, but we’re often too distracted to be aware of Him. 

The more unnecessary noise that we allow, the more distant God will seem in our lives. If possible, slow down and quiet yourself for the first or last hour of the day to develop a life more focused on Him. 

2. Stash a couple of devotionals in strategic places.

Take the time to find a couple of devotionals that you enjoy and put them in your car, work bag, living room, or nightstand. Read one entry in your car before you go into work, during your lunch break, or before bed.

You’ll be surprised how much this helps you refocus on God. If you scramble to get out the door most mornings, getting to work 5 minutes earlier to meditate on a devotional will help your morning go smoother.

I suggest a devotional because, for many people, it’s easier to start small with a devotional than pick up the Bible. The more you enjoy that devotional, the easier it’ll be to make this a habit.

(I list some resources at the end of this article.)

3. Set a midday alarm to pray/meditate for 5 minutes.

Make a habit of stopping to pray mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Set aside and spend 5 minutes in conversation with God. If you use the Pomodoro technique to help you focus at work, use one of your break times as a time to connect with God.

If you struggle with distraction, you may prefer a guided prayer time. Using a 10-minute prayer/meditation app makes it easier to develop this habit.

4. Listen to an audio Bible.

Audio Bibles are one of the best ways to fill our minds with God’s Word on the go. If it’s difficult for you to process a formal Bible translation aloud, a paraphrase such as the New Living Translation (NLT) or The Message translation might be easier to digest.

Think of it as having someone read you the story of God’s Word aloud. This practice isn’t a substitute for time studying the Bible. But it’s a great way to keep our minds focused on Him and His truths as we go about our day.

5. Put on worship music or Christian podcasts.

Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Another way to keep our minds focused above is to listen to worship music or Christian podcasts.

You might do this while driving to pick up the kids, cooking—or folding underwear for the umpteenth time this week.

6. Substitute Christian content for scrolling social media or the news.

If you scroll social media or the news more than you’d like, use an RSS feed or Feedly to subscribe to your favorite Christian blogs and compile them in one place. (This method also keeps your e-mail inbox less cluttered.)

Read them like an online, digital magazine when you have downtime.

For the video version of this tip, subscribe to your favorite Christian YouTubers and watch them instead of Netflix.

7. Set aside time to process your workday. 

Use your commute home to process your workday with God. Your mind will be clearer when you get home because you’ve mentally reviewed your day in the car, rather than at the dinner table. (Your family will thank you for it!)

8. Spend time outside (especially if you work indoors). 

Get outside and take in the beauty of God’s creation wherever you can. Make it a point to watch a sunset after work. Go on longer walks on the weekends.

Don’t let that spectacular wallpaper on your computer be the only taste of nature that you get.

For if we look, we’ll find beauty in even the most sprawling of urban landscapes. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” But we’ll miss this truth if we don’t get outside to see it.

9. Write for 5 minutes in a bedtime journal. 

Often, it’s easier to put pen to paper than mutter a prayer while winding down for bed. The tangible act of journaling helps us quiet our hearts and focus.

Write down 3 things you’re grateful for and 3 prayer requests in a bullet-point format. Keep it short and simple. You’ll be surprised how 5 minutes of reflection can help re-center you on God.

10. Place Bible verses in visible areas. 

Put sticky notes with your favorite Bible verses in the bathroom, kitchen, or exercise bike. Reflect on these throughout the day.

Or use the Bible App widget to put a Bible verse on your phone’s home screen. You’ll see a verse every time you pick up your phone.

11. Maintain white space in your schedule. 

Just as graphic designers maintain white space on a webpage to not overwhelm readers, we also need white space in our schedules.

Stop trying to cram in another to-do list item whenever you have free time (I’m guilty of this, too!). Put down your phone between appointments. Use the downtime to catch your breath and talk to God instead. 

12. Engage with God through a creative hobby.

Like everything in life, we can engage in our hobbies with or without God. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Find a creative hobby to use as a special time to talk with God. Keep Him in the forefront of your thoughts as you create something as an act of worship to Him.

13. Challenge yourself to a Gratitude Hour. 

Studies show that we can train our minds to see more of the positive. Gratitude and focus are muscles that we can train. Challenge yourself to an hour where you purposely look for ways that God has blessed you as you go about your day. Thank Him for these blessings!

This kind of proactive gratitude is God’s will for us. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

14. Don’t wait for a better moment than now.

Some time is better than no time. Occasionally, we think that because we missed our whole morning routine today, we shouldn’t try at all until tomorrow when we can “do better.”

Or we wait until we can talk to God later when we have a quieter moment—but that moment never comes.

Think of your dedicated quiet time with God as a date night. Just as you wouldn’t wait for a date night to talk to your spouse, we can talk to God at any time, even in the least ideal moments. Our day-to-day communication is what makes up our day-to-day relationship with God.

There’s no better moment to talk to Him than now.

Walking Humbly with God

The goal here isn’t to become a “super Christian.” The idea is to implement little habits, rather than try to upend our schedule all at once. Pick one sustainable, realistic habit to implement at a time.

God will meet us where we are and give us the grace that we need. 

For we’re cultivating a rhythm and lifestyle of humbly walking with Him. The more that we do this, the more peace and joy we will have. The more fruit we will bear. And the more that auto-pilot mode at work will include God—not exclude Him.

Recap: How to Stay Connected to God

1.     Put away your phone for the first or last hour of the day. 

2.     Stash a couple of devotionals in strategic places. 

3.     Set a midday alarm to pray/meditate for 5 minutes.

4.     Listen to an audio Bible. 

5.     Put on worship music or Christian podcasts.

6.     Substitute Christian content for scrolling social media or the news.

7.     Set aside time to process your workday. 

8.     Spend time outside (especially if you work indoors). 

9.     Write for 5 minutes in a bedtime journal. 

10.  Place Bible verses in visible areas. 

11.  Maintain white space in your schedule. 

12.  Engage with God through a creative hobby.

13.  Challenge yourself to a Gratitude Hour. 

14.  Don’t wait for a better moment than now.

In what areas of life do you unintentionally omit God? What can you do today to stay connected to God more consistently?

For more on this topic:

How to Keep the Sabbath in Modern Times

Living with Margin: 13 Ways to Create Space in Your Life

How to Make Bible Reading a Habit That You’ll Stick To

More Resources to Stay Connected to God

Audio Bibles:

YouVersion Bible App (free)

Bible.is (free)

Dwell (like Spotify for Bible verses—allows you to listen to scripture verses by topic)

Prayer/meditation apps:

One Minute Pause App (free)

Lectio 365 (free)

Abide (also helps with sleep)

Devotionals:

For something light and uplifting: Be Still and Know: Morning and Evening Devotional

For men by men: Stand Strong: 365 Devotions for Men by Men

For renewal from burnout: Restoration Year by John Eldredge

For a difficult season: Streams in the Desert by L.B.E. Cowman

For if you don’t want to carry around a physical book: Morning and Evening Devotional Readings by Charles Spurgeon (online blog)

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Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

About the Author

Helen Rees

I am a Christian, wife, stepmom, psychiatric nurse, and writer. I write about research-backed ways to navigate the challenges of fast-paced modern life while growing in your Christian faith.

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