By Mike Livingood
How can I keep my mind from wandering when I pray? How can I keep from falling asleep? What should I do when praying becomes boring? is there a way to deal with distractions?
The following suggestions will help you face these challenges:
Recognize that a wandering mind is normal. Do not be overcome with feelings of condemnation or inadequacy simply because you caught your mind two states away during your devotions. Accept the wandering mind as normal and then learn to deal with it.
Rebuke spiritual opposition in the name of Jesus. Though Satan is not always the source of the wandering mind, he can be overcome by following the injunction to resist him in the name of Jesus. (See James 4:7.)
Learn to pray aloud. Praying aloud reduces the tendency of your mind to wander.
Pray for what ever your mind wanders to. Sometimes your wandering mind is actually the leading of the Holy Spirit.
For days my mind wandered to an acquaintance of mine-a preacher. I began to pray for her. The burden grew stronger, so after a few days I tracked her down. I learned she had left the ministry and was
struggling for her spiritual survival. our conversation and the knowledge God had laid her on somebody’s heart became the turning point in her life.
Have a basic pattern for prayer. All prayer needs to be led by the Spirit, but having a basic pattern in daily devotions helps keep you on track.
Exercise spiritual discipline. Discipline yourself for your wandering mind.
Sleepiness can result from lack of rest, a spiritual attack, or a physical problem. Deal with sleepiness in these ways:
Get proper rest Prayer is hard work; physical preparation is important. Pray aloud. Praying aloud will help you withstand sleep.
Walk as you pray. Walking also provides exercise. Keep your eyes open. Nothing in Scripture requires you close your eyes.
There may be times you can’t sleep. Turn those times into prayer times.
During some prayer times we find ourselves in heavenly places and prayer is a joy. On other occasions we find it difficult to hang in there. Four things help when this happens:
Remember that God answers the prayer of faith … not the prayer of feeling. When you do not feel like praying, pray anyway.
Tell the Lord you are struggling with your emotions. Give the time of prayer to Him as a gift.
Allow for changes in your emotions. Some days you are up and some days, down. Tomorrow your prayer time may be dramatic.
Vary your pattern. Spend the entire time praying in the Spirit, or worshipping the Lord, or reading the Word.
The telephone rings, someone knocks on the door, the baby begins to cry, the television is calling-the list goes on.
Find a time for your daily visit with the Lord when the distractions are normally fewer. This may mean getting up earlier or staying up later.
Have an agreement with your family that during your prayer time they will not disturb you unless it is an emergency.
Find a place to pray where you are not as likely to be disturbed. One housewife simply retreats behind her apron by placing it over her head. I often pray on abandoned railroad tracks.
Ask the family to run interference for you. Purchase a telephone answering machine and return calls later.
The wandering mind … the sleepy body … the feelings of boredom … the annoying distractions. They may not be eliminated, but they can be brought under control. Keep praying . Prayer works.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, MAY 26, 1996. THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY AND RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.