Finding Triggers – How to Set Cues to Pray

We remember to do things when we are reminded by something; often called a trigger.  Like passing a mailbox and remembering you need to get that birthday card sent.  Many things that we want to remember we schedule into our week and make them routine.  Like what household chores we do when (Wednesday – windows and water plants).  Did you know that it is possible to set triggers for yourself to help you remember?

what are some common triggers?

  • putting it on your calendar with an alarm or reminder – like when you need to pay bills
  • having a certain routine or time of day – like getting the dishes under control after breakfast
  • including it with something else – like keeping my prayer list at the back of my journal book

how do we set triggers?

Find something that you do on a regular basis that you can ‘tie’ a trigger to.  What do you do on a regular basis?  Driving, making lunches, taking out the garbage… anything that you do over and over will work.  Can you think of something that has some connection to what it is you are wanting to remember or pray for?  That will make it easier to remember to make that connection.  Below I’ve got the things I am trying to set triggers for, as well as some examples from others.  Hopefully you can find some ideas to help you set triggers for what you are wanting to make a habit in your life.

what do I need triggers for?

Here is my brainstorming for the areas I need to focus on:

  • I need reminders of my goals for N and for me as a parent – printables help, but I am still working on having something to quote to myself when I first feel annoyance or anger rising up.  (Is this anger going to help him become the person we want?  Will this anger help diffuse the situation?  Can this emotion help bring the calm?)  Using the feelings as a trigger to remember these ideas will help me remember the bigger picture and keep self-controlled.
  • Praying for specific things – our kids and some imminent things in their lives, our businesses & finances, requests from friends…  Coffee can be a trigger!  I usually make myself a cup right after breakfast, and often after lunch.  I will use the time the coffee is brewing to pray for my daughter who finishes high school this year and specifically for her plans for the next few years.  That will be a great use of that time, and it’s something that repeats often.  My wallet – what could be a better trigger to pray for our finances than remembering to every time I pull out a card to pay for something?  As far as praying for specific people, I have a photo frame over my sewing desk that holds 24 photos.  I keep pictures of my nieces and nephews in there and use that as a trigger to pray for them while I’m sewing.  I could also add photos of other people or families that I am wanting to pray for.
  • N’s Responsibility Chart –  His before bed routine is to brush his teeth, pee, put on pjs, and read stories – we’ve been meaning to do his responsibility chart in there, but haven’t been able to make that a habit yet.  Thinking about what trigger I can set led to this:

How to set triggers to help you build habits.


other examples of triggers

  • as the bus goes by – at one point when my daughter was in middle years in school, I would watch her get on the bus every day.  As the bus drove away, I would use it as a trigger to pray for her and all of her classmates.  I actually blogged a lot of those prayers – you can find them here along with a super cute picture of my kids when they were younger!
  • I know a businessman who once told me that every morning when he got to work and reached for the door, he would pray for the success of his business.  That’s a great trigger.
  • Another friend would set her watch to beep on the hour.  She would stop work for 5 minutes, get a glass of water and pray for whoever she had on her list for that hour.  I was being coached by her when she told me this and was honored to be one of the people she prayed for on one of her water prayer breaks.

I’d love your input here – can you share what triggers you use or brainstorm with me?

2 Replies to “Finding Triggers – How to Set Cues to Pray”

  1. Thanks Carolyn! I find that when days are off schedule it is the hardest to get things back on track. You’re right often it is the little things that bring us back to the most important privilege of prayer.
    Bless you…

    1. Carolyn Ward says: Reply

      It does take a bit of work to make the associations stick, but so worth it!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!