I get distracted during prayer. My mind turns to other ideas, circumstances, concerns, and … well, just about anything.
As a result, I feel defeated and so unspiritual. Sometimes I just want to give up and stop praying. Certainly, God must be unhappy with me.
Are you distracted during prayer? There is hope. TWEET THAT!
If you feel the same sometimes, don’t be alarmed. You and I are normal. I recently talked with several women whom I consider very strong in the Lord. Very “spiritual.” And guess what? They shared the same thing! I was surprised.
Thankfully, being distracted doesn’t have to discourage us. I’ve begun seeing these distractions in a different light in three main ways.
Maybe the thoughts protruding into my mind are actually God’s invitation.
I’m thinking of a family member? Maybe God is prompting me to pray for him or her. I may not have intended to pray for him and I don’t know of anything disturbing going on, but God knows everything and He may know that person needs prayer support.
I even sometimes see these distractions as a prompting to take some action.
Even though I’m “in my prayer time,” if God seems to indicate I should send an email to someone, maybe that person needs to receive it at that moment–not later.
I remember one time while in prayer, I felt a need to email my friend and give her a Scripture verse. But I was uncertain whether I should interrupt my “time with God.” I feared I might not get back to what I was doing. I knew my tendency to then look at more emails. But I decided I needed to follow through. A while later I heard back from that friend saying she needed to read that scripture in that moment and what a blessing it was. Wow! That certainly doesn’t happen all the time but I was so grateful for God’s prompting and empowering to follow through on that seeming distraction.
And isn’t my “time with God” all the time? God is with us every second. I’m learning that every moment I can be alert to Him, not just during my specified time.
Here’s a third idea. Don’t give up, persist. God isn’t upset.
God isn’t condemning us. He doesn’t expect perfection. He knows that we are but dust.
Psalm 103:13-14 assures us, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (ESV).
For many years, I had a system for what to pray about each day, Monday-Friday. I even wrote out notes on file cards noting my requests for the categories I prayed for. On Monday, I prayed for my immediate family. On Tuesday, I prayed for my extended family. On Wednesday, I prayed for different ministries. On Thursday, I prayed for the women of my Bible study. On Friday, I prayed for any other prayer requests I’d heard about. It was all quite organized to make sure I didn’t leave anything out.
As wonderful as that was, and I even recommend it, the problem became when the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart to pray for something different than that day’s assignment, I sometimes replied, “Oh, that’s not until tomorrow’s topic, I’ll pray for it then.”
Aren’t I silly? But the plan seemed so helpful. And it was. And the system even seemed to keep me more focused and undistracted. But it also blocked my attitude of being open to however the Holy Spirit might lead.
Now I’d rather risk being distracted, knowing those “distractions” might actually be God’s prompting for me to choose something different than I’d originally thought.
Are you distracted during prayer? If so, what is your initial attitude about it? How do you respond? I’d love to hear and so would others. I hope you’ll make a comment.