‘He will call on me, and I will answer him.’ Psalm 91:15 NIV
When we try to spend an extended period of time in prayer, our minds tend to wander. When that happens, is God upset with us? No, when your mind wanders—God’s Spirit is still with you. Sometimes your wandering thoughts can actually guide you into prayer.
John Ortberg writes: ‘I begin praying, and then I imagine myself being wildly successful at something. Or I replay a conversation with a person I’m upset with. Or I try to figure out how to solve a problem I’m worried about. I used to think of those kinds of thoughts as obstacles to prayer, but I’ve come to think of them as prayers waiting to be offered. Maybe the reason they pop into my mind isn’t simply my short attention span, but rather what my mind is really concerned about. So instead of trying to suppress these thoughts, it’s better to begin to talk to God about them. And just like that, I’m back in the flow of prayer. Indeed, we are free to pray in ways that will best help us live in the joyful awareness of God’s presence.’
Obviously, things like getting your hair done or your car fixed are distractions. When these arise, just write them down and say, ‘I’ll get to that later,’ then get back to prayer. Developing a rich and rewarding prayer life isn’t something you accomplish overnight; you have to work at it. But the rewards are more than worth the effort. You’re not unique; everybody battles distractions in prayer. Those who succeed are those who learn to deal with the distractions.
SoulFood: 2 Ki 4:18–6:33, Mark 12:1–12, Ps 48, Pro 13:2–3
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019
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