How to Stay Focused for Effective Prayer

Today, I get to welcome my friend Dianne to share about staying focused for effective prayer in the next post in our morning scripture series. This post is such a timely word for me, I hope it is for you too.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Prayer bends the omnipotence of heaven to your desire. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.” I want my prayers to move God’s hand! I want to pray effectively! Especially for my children. As moms, we get to be part of God’s work in their lives through our prayers.

Learning to pray effectively and consistently is a life-long process. At least it has been for me. When I have prayed faithfully, I have seen God move. But there have been seasons when I slacked off. My prayers weren’t as effective as I wanted them to be—as they should have been. I recognized it when one or more of my children were in crisis. Although my lack of prayer wasn’t necessarily the catalyst for those crises, they reminded me that I should have been praying fervently all along.

Sometimes, though, I feel if I prayed for every one of my family’s needs (not to mention for others), I would never get up from my quiet time chair.

Maybe you’ve had these thoughts, too. They can overwhelm and make us feel guilty. In reality, it’s the Holy Spirit’s prompting to get busy about the business of prayer.

Stay focused for effective prayer

The Starting Place for Effective Prayer

My mom helped form my approach to prayer. She shared this verse with me many years ago.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15, NIV)

God moves when we pray according to His will. We may not see the results on our timetable, but we can trust God because He is a promise-keeping God. As we wait and continue to pray, we grow in our faith.

The more time we spend with God in His Word and in prayer, the more our hearts align with His. We ask for things He wants to give, including how He works in our children’s lives. But we also ask God to mold their hearts so they, too, want what He wants. When we focus on God’s will, it’s a win-win, no matter who we pray for!

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Examples of How I Pray For My Children

Each morning before I read my Bible, I pray for myself. Before we listen to God speak through His Word, it’s good to bring our personal needs to Him and ask Him to guide our thoughts. While I read, God often brings to mind other matters that need prayer. I stop and pray for them. After reading my Bible, I pray for my family and friends.

Their relationship with the Lord: Holy Father, I lift my children (I say their names) to You. Please help them love You more than anything. Help them love You with all of their hearts, their souls, their minds, and their strength—and to hate evil. I ask that they would love Your Word and spend time with You every day. (Luke 10:27; Psalm 97:10; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119)

When they are worried: Dearest Father, please help my children to rest in Your love for them. Guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus so they don’t worry. Remind them You are with them, strengthening them for everything You’ve called them to do. (1 John 4:9; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41:10)

When they face temptation: Father, please help my children stand firm against their enemy. Temptation is strong in our world and they need Your help. Any time they face the choice to disobey You, give a way of escape. Help them see it and follow You. (Ephesians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 10:13)


Tools for Staying Focused During Your Prayer Time

I’ve tried many things to help me “stay on track” in my prayer life. But two stand out.

  1. Praying aloud keeps my mind from wandering. When I pray silently, unsolicited thoughts barge into my thinking. But when I pray out loud, my voice silences those thoughts (for the most part!).

2. Prayer cards are the most effective way for me to pray consistently for specific things. I am easily distracted. Holding something in my hands helps me stay focused.

Two types of cards have helped me. Years ago, FamilyLife published prayer cards with Scripture-based prayer prompts to aid in praying for our children and our spouses. As I prayed through them, God reminded me of specifics for my children. For instance, one prayer prompt was for God to bring into our children’s lives godly adults and friends who would encourage them in godly living. So I prayed for those who served alongside my kids in ministry at church. And I prayed for their friends and their relationships. I kept these prayer cards tucked in my Bible and used them for many years. Even today, those prayer prompts form the foundation of my prayers for my college-aged kids.

Also, nothing beats an index card with your child’s name at the top and a list of their immediate needs. Another way I stay up-to-date with their prayer needs is in a family group chat. Especially if I know midterms or final exams are approaching. Then I transfer those needs to index cards and sometimes set an event reminder on my phone to pray at a particular time.

PRO TIP: Check out this FREE 12 Scripture Prayers to Pray for your Kids Bookmark! Simply print and use!

effective prayer

God Makes Our Prayers Effective

Even though these things help me stay on task, it’s easy to get discouraged about praying for my children. But what encourages me most is knowing that God helps me pray, especially when I feel ineffective. I know God takes our weaknesses and covers them with His strength in our circumstances. But God helps us pray effectively through the ministries of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus prays perfect prayers for our children and for us.

“but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:24-25, NIV)

The Holy Spirit also prays for us. When we can’t find the words to pray for our children, the Holy Spirit’s prayers on our behalf are deeper and more effective than we can imagine.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26, NIV)

With these prayers backing up our own, as we pray according to God’s will, we will see His hand move!

Be sure to check out our prayer resources, such as this 40-Day Praying the Promises for Your Children kit, in the shop here. 

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Dianne’s passion is helping others connect with God through His Word–the Source
of Life, Love, and Truth. She knows that true satisfaction is found in a relationship with
Jesus Christ, and shares how you can experience that, too. You can connect with Dianne
on her website:, on Facebook, and Instagram:

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for this. I trust as much as possible to pray out loud so I don’t get distracted and it’s working for me.

    We must be focused when we pray especially in this time of much distractions.

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