Last time we looked at the challenges faced when we fast. We looked at how these challenges can steal our progress on The Road To Pentecost if we aren't careful. However, if we can go to Christ for strength, we'll find the endurance to overcome the attacks of the enemy and soldier through our fasting struggles. Today, we look at the challenges that occur when we pray, especially on a journey like The Road To Pentecost we are currently following.
Have you ever sat down to pray to God and found every form of distraction immediately flood in at you? The phone starts ringing, your to-do list comes to mind, random thoughts pop up. These are just a few things that can happen and they definitely happened to me so far along this journey. I started to pray and a random thought will pop in my head (I can get distracted within my own head at times). I get activities that pop up in my head all the time and I have found myself unknowingly gravitating away from prayer to do them. These activities (work and recreational related) can easily wait until I'm done praying, but their seems to be something pulling me towards them.
The flesh has a way of doing this. It doesn't want to pray because prayer feeds the spirit side of us and the flesh is naturally selfish and ego driven. It's not that the activities or thoughts I have are sinful. They are just distracting and that takes me away from Christ. Imagine if every time you had a conversation with your spouse or loved one, you got lost in an activity or thought or phone call. We'd probably be in the dog house pretty quickly. That's what is happening when we try to pray to God, though. We are ignoring our intimate conversation and relationship time with Him and that tells Him that He isn't important to us.
Luckily, we serve a merciful God who doesn't make us go the couch the next time we want to head to the prayer room (note: my wife has never forced me to sleep on the couch because of my mindless thoughts. She is a wonderful and amazingly merciful woman). God doesn't tell us to leave His house of worship. Rather, He welcomes us back in and encourages us to relate with Him. He won't refuse our prayers, but there are consequences to distracted prayer:
1. We don't grow closer to God
2. We don't achieve the blessings God has for us.
God wants us to grow closer to Him, but we cannot do so if we don't communicate with Him clearly. Christ wants to bless us, but we cannot receive if we aren't focused on Him and His words to us. The only way to get these two items is to pray to God with a focused mind and heart.
Thought for the Day:
The cloudier you make your time with God, the less clear things will be when you are done praying.
Jesus said it best when he taught us exactly how we should pray in Matthew 6:6:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Christ was letting us know that in order to get into connection with God and receive that which He wants for us, we must get away from the world and all of its distractions. We must decloud our minds, hearts and lives before we even come into his presence. How can we do this, though? Here's some tips to get you through:
These are by no means the only things we can do to fight distractions in our prayer time, but they can definitely help us to focus our minds when facing the enemy of distraction. Once we soldier through these distractions, we'll find ourselves in a supernatural conversation with God. Remember, conversations are both ways so let God have His say when you pray, too. However, having your prayer time proceed without a successful distraction will allow us to draw nearer to God and open us up to the blessings He has for us as we travel down The Road To Pentecost.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.