We know prayer is important, and we also know that prayer is easily choked out by the demands of the day. We know we are called to “pray without ceasing,” but we also know that we rarely cease from our daily activates long enough to pray (1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer is vital to our spiritual lives, and yet we routinely neglect it—if not entirely, at least in a substantive, on-going, dependent way.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer gives us some help on how we can more faithfully “pray without ceasing.” This doesn’t mean we breathlessly offer verbal prayers every nanosecond of the day. Instead, it means we live in a spirit of prayer throughout the day, with an awareness of the presence and power of God, and a dependence upon him in every situation.
In 1939, Bonhoeffer published Life Together, a booklet about his vision for Christian community, which was born out of his formation of the “House of Brethren,” a spiritual center that assumed a monastic feel. Life Together became Bonhoeffer’s most popular book during his lifetime.  He wanted to recover the beauty that comes from recognizing, appreciating, and embracing genuine Christian community.
In one section of the book, Bonhoeffer recounts how his experimental group framed out their daily prayers. As we seek to be a praying people, we can glean much from how Bonhoeffer and the House of Brethren prayed throughout the day. Bonhoeffer’s concept was a coming together of multiple people to pray, and if you have that opportunity than all the better. But we can apply his framework to our individual lives as well. He structured the community’s day around three times of prayer: morning, noontime, and evening.
Morning: Prayer of Praise
Bonhoeffer wanted us to be thankful that the Lord had carried us through another night. We should never take a day for granted. We are not responsible for our waking; it is purely by God’s grace every morning. Before we do anything, the Lord deserves our attention and worship:
“For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day's work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs.” 
Our screens, burdens, or responsibilities should not get the mind’s first attention nor the heart’s first affection. We should pray by praising God for his grace and his new morning mercies (Lam. 3:22-23). Our early prayers should not be centered on worry, but on the love of God:
“Some rise early because of restlessness and worry; the Scriptures call this unprofitable: ‘It is vain for you to rise up early . . . to eat the bread of sorrows’ (Ps. 127: 2). But there is such a thing as rising early for the love of God. This was the practice of the men of the Bible.” 
Noon: Prayer for Strength
By lunchtime, you’ve likely faced challenges, situations that didn’t go as you hoped, or just pure exhaustion. This is not the time to retreat into mindless social media surfing, but to call upon God for the endurance and sustenance you need to make it through the day. Again, Bonhoeffer’s vision is for this to be a communal prayer, but, if that is not an option for you or your workplace or home, take his words and apply them to yourself individually:
“The noonday hour, where it is possible, becomes for the Christian family fellowship a brief rest on the day's march. Half of the day is past. The fellowship thanks God and prays for protection until the eventide (evening) . . . where a Christian family fellowship is able to gather together at this hour for a brief devotion of song and prayer, it will not do so in vain.” 
Can you find a brief moment to pray during the middle of the day, specifically for spiritual strength and fortitude? This is not a prayer offered in vain, but one offered from a humble heart that recognizes it is not in control of the day. It is God who blesses and provides. This simple prayer reorients our minds back on to the Giver of our strength and endurance.
Evening: Prayer for Needs
In the evening, Bonhoeffer encourages prayer for our needs, burdens, and responsibilities. This is when we recognize our work is done, and God’s work continues:
“We have yet to say a few words with regard to evening prayer. This is the appropriate place for common intercessions. After the day's work we pray God for the blessing, peace, and safety of all Christendom; for our congregation; for the pastor in his ministry; for the poor, the wretched, and lonely; for the sick and dying; for our neighbors, for our own folks at home, and for our fellowship. When can we have any deeper sense of God's power and working than in the hour when our hands lay down their work and we commit ourselves to the hands of God? When are we more ready for the prayer of blessing, peace, and preservation than the time when our own activity ceases? When we grow weary, God does His work. ‘Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep’ (Ps. 121:4).” 
Further, this is the time where we confess our known sins and seek God’s help to pursue reconciliation with others:
“Then, too, the evening prayer of the family fellowship should include particularly the petition of forgiveness for every wrong done to God and our brothers, for God's forgiveness and that of our brothers, and for readiness gladly to forgive any wrong done to us.” 
Let Dietrich Bonhoeffer help you frame out a general way to pray daily. In the morning, prayers of praise. At noon, prayers for strength. In the evening, prayers for needs. You can do this individually, but also alongside others, whether family, colleagues, or friends. Either way, this three-fold approach to prayer can help you become a person who prays without ceasing.
 Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography, Revised Edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 469.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, translated by John Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 43.
 Ibid., 44.
 Ibid., 72-73.
 Ibid., 73-74.
 Ibid., 74.