Abundant life, Encouragement, prayer

Distractions During Prayer


images-11Have you found yourself lately unfocused and distracted from life?  It is hard sometimes to focus on prayer when you miss a church service or your daily devotion.  What about trying to pray and things keep going through your mind to a point you can stay on topic with God?  I even have a friend who says she is ADHD when she starts to pray.  How do we confront distractions of the mind when we really want to get down to business and pray—there’s really no escape. That is why I try to keep a notebook or my little purse recorder handy. Thoughts will come regarding something I need to do. Rather than distract myself by trying not to forget it, I jot it down, forget about it while I pray, and do it afterward. Or the invading thought, especially if it’s from the Holy Spirit, might be something I turn into a prayer.  You must also try to discipline yourself to continue to stay focused when in prayer and when you practice being with God alone.  This is so  important to your intimacy with God.  When you have intimacy with your spouse, usually you don’t let things distract you do you?  Your entire focus is on each other, God wants the same.  He wants you to be with Him and focused totally upon Him during this time.

mark_8_31_33If, no matter what we do, we still can’t focus, then yell or pray out loud.  However, yell someplace where people won’t hear and think you’re crazy.  Raising the voice can have an immediate and powerful effect in focusing the mind. Praying aloud will help you stay focused.  Also, if you write your prayer out this will also help you stay on track.  If you find yourself not knowing how to pray, or wanting to pray on a different level, then writing out the prayer is the best solution.  I teach this in our Fast Track class to those who are hungry for a deeper spiritual walk.  Take time to make a columned prayer list.  Each designed for healing, salvation, special needs, deliverance and whatever God has prompted you to pray for.  Write out Scriptures at the top of the page, quote them unto memorization and write new ones every week.  This is just one suggestion that may sound too time consuming but worth trying.

 Hebrews 4:16  So let us come boldly to the throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.

Praying boldly is the opposite of polite prayer. Praying boldly is praying without intimidation, not caring what other people think, expressing ourselves to God without concern for being appropriate or religiously correct but rather with a passion from our guts that pours out, unashamedly. Bold prayer is not arrogant. It’s humble and faithful, because of its self-abandoned focus on God and expectation of what God will do.  It is standing on the promises of God in His Word and knowing He is always faithful.  This is where knowing the Scriptures and saying them aloud with agreement to God’s will.

People often assume they must be polite or solemn before God. Nowhere does the Bible teach this. Two thirds of the Psalms are complaints, and they are not polite. Most prayers in both Old and New Testaments are bold, expectant, and to the point. When Jesus teaches on prayer in Luke 11:5–10, he talks about an obnoxious guy who bangs on his friend’s door at midnight. Then he says we should bug him the same way by continually asking, seeking, and knocking. I often wonder if God gets tired of diplomatic prayers. Why else would he actually tell us to be bold and persistent—and use examples that, if we were on the receiving end, most of us would say are annoying.  There’s no real method to doing this. It’s a mindset that chooses to free itself from previous assumptions and uses the Bible as a model of how to pray.

Practicing the presence of God in prayer and in mind throughout the day primarily has to do with developing an attitude, a continual awareness that God is always with us, and that in turn, we always incline our attention toward him.

We must slow down or cut unnecessary activities from our calendar to dwindle down our distractions. Busyness is an enemy to practicing the presence of God in prayer or thought.  Jesus continually focused on his purpose here on earth and we should also.   Pastors or leaders who do the same are always happier, closer to God, and more effective. And when we practice the presence of God in thought and in prayer, we increase our ability to be intimate with him when times do get busy.  When crisis hits, we can continue to adapt to change routines from the norm but also continue to stay focused without distractions.

Here are some practices that may help develop that attitude,  my last thought before I sleep and my first thought when I wake up is centered on God. When I get mad or stressed, I try to see things from God’s perspective. When I am waiting for someone, I use that time to pray. I do menial tasks with an awareness and love of God. I often have a praise song on my mind as I go through the day.

Breath prayers are another practice that can help. These are super-short prayers that we can utter with one breath at any time all through the day.  Most pastors may rather spontaneously say their own breath prayers, such as, “I praise you, Lord.” “Fill me with your Spirit.” “I receive your peace.” The possibilities are endless.

If you have a thought or idea on how to get past distractions, please leave a comment for others to view!  Thanks.


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