Christian Living

Spiritual Life

5 Steps to Help Stay Focused in Prayer

The other morning as I prayed, the petitions rose beautifully.

I felt the Spirit, and the prayers came from a deep place as I lifted up individuals who I often fail to remember. It felt so good. I got up from my knees feeling rather spiritual. I’d partnered with the Divine.

But the next day ... 

As I closed my eyes my mind wandered to the worries in my head.

There was not one thing spiritual about my “prayer.”  As soon as I became aware of the invasion, I lassoed those non-prayers, threw them out, and proceeded to try to pray.

But I was stuck. Nothing wanted to come. Every prayer attempt seemed repetitious and empty. I tried to think of why this was happening.

Did I do something wrong?

Why were my prayers so scattered, so empty?

How could I focus them?

I began again throwing out prayers of thanksgiving and praise, my normal petitions for family and friends, to no avail. My mind wandered, so I gave up, and I opened my Bible.

[Cue angel choir singing.]

And I read,

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NIV.

My soul quieted as my lips mouthed words of praise, and I was reminded of the times I’ve simply opened my Bible and used the Psalms as my prayer.

God’s Word is eternal.

Our prayers no longer threaten vanity or emptiness but hold the weight of an inspired pen when we use Scripture to pray.

I sat for a moment with God.

No words.

Just waiting for direction.

My eyes landed on a book sitting on my coffee table. I opened and read a warning of the spiritual battle on this earth. The author’s words were comforting as I read about the God of Angel Armies fighting for us. But she also reminded me of the need to put on the armor of God every day.

The enemy works to confuse and weaken our prayers.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13.

If focus is impossible in prayer, there is very good chance the enemy is running interference.

Here are five things to do to help stay focused in prayer and win the battle:

  • Pray Scripture or at least read your Bible before you jump into prayer.
  • Be aware of the spiritual battle. Put on the armor, Eph. 6:10-19.
  • Speak the name of Jesus. The authority of His name weakens the enemy.
  • Write down your prayers in a journal.
  • Pray out loud.

And remember, you are not alone. You’re not bad or less spiritual. You just need Divine help to pray, just like the rest of us.

Copyright © 2017 Andy Lee. Used by permission.

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