You have to plan to pray every day of your life. It's not good enough to tell yourself that you will pray when you get a chance. You can't let yourself off the hook like that.
Every one of us gets busy, and when we get busy we don't pray. Prayer is far too important to be relegated to that kind of treatment. If the only time you pray is when you get some quality leisure time, you are going to die prayerless.
You have to get it in your heart that it is a sin not to pray. Don't tell me anything different. Samuel was one of the best role models in the Bible - a real man of God from start to finish. He changed Israel from being a nomad nation to a divinely-ordered kingdom, not by his political or social skills, but by his praying.
Samuel said, "God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way" (1 Samuel 12:23). Did you get that? Samuel believed that if he ceased to pray for the people he would be committing a sin against God!
Maybe you don't want to believe that prayer is that essential in the will of God, but I am telling you now that it is. If you have children and you don't pray for them, you are sinning against God. If you have any kind of Christian background, you probably had your babies dedicated to the Lord while they were still infants. But that isn't good enough. You've got to take it upon yourself to be a life-long intercessor for those children.
I don't mean taking their hands and saying a poetic prayer around the dinner table. That's OK, but it's not the kind of praying I am talking about. Your kids are going to need a lot more prayer than your saying grace over the dinner.
An army of devils from hell are going to try to destroy your kids before they are grown and living for God. He is going to test and try them and tempt them with every conceivable type of evil. Somebody needs to put a prayer covering over those children, and if YOU don't do it, it's not going to get done! You are the Daddy or the Mother. You are the one who has the highest responsibility on earth for those precious little humans, and YOU are the one who will answer to God for their souls if for any reason they are taken early in life.
Don't risk a tragedy or calamity coming into your life without knowing far in advance that you have committed everything to God in prayer. Prayer is not going to guarantee you that there will never be a calamity or a tragedy in your life, but it will guarantee that God is going to be right there on the scene, working miraculously in your behalf through every test and every trial.
Prayer is something like wearing seatbelts. Lots of people don't like to wear seatbelts, but if you ever see someone who has been maimed or killed because they flew through an automobile windshield like a two-hundred pound projectile -- all because they didn't have their seatbelts fastened -- then you should realize why you should, and sense the urgency to wear your seatbelts.
By the same token, if you ever compare the lives of families who are constantly under an effective prayer cover to the lives of families who never pray -- there is no comparison. A prayerless home is so heavily exposed to the forces of hell; it is at such an extremely high risk to complete devastation; it is frightening. It is far worse than seeing a category F-5 Tornado destroy your house and realizing that you have no insurance coverage in force.
GOD FORBID THAT I SHOULD SIN AGAINST THE LORD by ceasing to pray for those God has given to me. My prayers warrant that intercession has already been made for those I love in the event of hard times that are certain to come.