How Distractions Can Actually Fuel Your Prayer Life
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Imagine this… You sit down to pray. Then you close your eyes to all distractions and begin to speak to God. Start pouring your heart out to Him and then…
You remember you forgot to get milk at the supermarket earlier that day.
GREAT. Okay, you begin again. You are on a roll now, praying for a friend’s recent health concerns…
When a picture of the unpaid electric bill you have been meaning to take care of flashes through your mind!
Does any of this sound familiar? It has happened to me too many times to count! Maybe not the exact details, but do you ever find when you are trying your best to clear your mind and focus on God, the distractions come flooding in one by one, like little relentless attackers?
If so, then I have good news: it is actually okay for your mind to wander when you pray. It happens and honestly, I promise you are not a failure at prayer if you are easily distracted.
Let me say it again because you really need to know this:
You are not a failure at prayer if you are easily distracted!
This is so important because the feeling that we are a prayer-failure is one of the biggest blocks to becoming the prayer warrior God is calling us to be!
Satan would really love for us to begin to pray, encounter distractions, and give up.
But that is not our portion! Did you know that you can actually use distractions to our advantage?
I thought of three steps we can take in order to use our distractions as the momentum to fuel our prayers. Let me tell you how it works:
Step 1: Expect the Distractions
Let us face it, we live in a fast-paced world. Words and images flash past our phone screens more quickly than our brains were probably designed to handle. We have been trained to multi-task as a way of life. Is there any question why it is so hard to quiet our minds to connect with God, or to create white space for meditation and reflection?
So be realistic when you decide to begin your quiet time. Stop expecting that sitting still is going to come easily right away…because it is not!
Expect the distractions to come because they will.
Anticipate the attack.
Step 2: Embrace the Distractions
So now you know the attack is coming. What are you going to do about it? Now that you are fully aware distractions may come. You are going to embrace them as they come at you! Embrace your distractions…by writing them down, then continuing to pray. They may be something weighing heavily on your heart and what better time than now during your quiet prayer time to focus on it. Or it could be something important you need to do at a later point in time. You will need to be armed with a journal/notebook or even just paper and a pen, and so when you think about the milk you forgot at the supermarket…
Write it down.
As the picture of the unpaid bill flashes through your mind…
Write it down.
The mere act of writing your distractions on paper captures them, robbing them of any power they might have over the rest of your prayer time. They are captives on your list, to be dealt with only when you decide to deal with them – on your OWN terms.
Step 3: Utilize the Distractions
Okay, now we this is where we use the distractions to actually fuel our prayers.
Here is how it might look:
You are praising God and remember the forgotten milk. You write a note down so you remember to put milk on your shopping list for next time, and shift into praising God for providing the means to buy the shopping for your family. This might remind you of the homeless shelter you volunteered at, and the woman with three young children who was interviewing for a job the following week. You go with it and pray for God’s provision and for the interview to go well.
Then you move on to praying for your friend’s health, and get distracted when you realize you have not paid the electric bill. You write down a reminder to remember to pay it later, and then shift into asking God to provide for the physical and financial needs of your friend and her family, like utilities and housing.
By doing this, not only are all of your distractions dealt with immediately, but they are actually FUEL for your prayers! And an added bonus is that it actually trains your mind to shift your thinking to prayer in many different, seemingly non-spiritual circumstances.
By God’s grace, these three tips will help you leverage distractions to fuel your prayer life? Try it, and let me know!