The idea of this post is derived from my best blog friend when she was share unfocused prayer problem in her blog yesterday. Why I am longing to write and share this post because I really concern about prayer. Praying has become a part of my life. I spent about 1-2 hours (sometime more) a day to talk with God privately.
Back to the problem. I think this is not only her problem. Including me, I believe many of us often have a problem like Julie. So, how we can stay focused in prayer? How we avoid a distracted prayer? Below are some of my thoughts. But this is not a theological theory. This is just a thought based on my personal experience.
First, when we want to pray, it means we are ready to talk with God in our special time. Be ready! This is important to us. Our minds and hearts should be ready to take our prayer. Our hearts and minds have been leads to God and ready get into the God’s presence. For a while forget about other things that exist in our minds.
When we are truly ready, let us praising God through a song. We can do it by listening to a spiritual song with the theme of praising God or prayer then we can sing following its song. Paul admonished the Ephesians church to “speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20). According my experience, praising God through music before praying can help our hearts and minds to get in to the God’s presence. Choose a short song, not too long.
Then after singing (or just listening a song). Start our prayer with praise and thanks. Psalm 100:4 said:” Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Open up our prayer time with praise. Take around 5-10 minutes to thank God for what He’s done for us. Spend time focused on what Jesus has done for us and praise and thank Him for that. Then, continued with worship to God. Worship is different with praise and thanksgiving. Praise is thanking God for what He’s done, but worship is about who God is! Take the next few moments to simply marvel at the awesomeness of God such as: “LORD, You are everything to me. There’s none like You in the heavens or in the earth!”
After praising, thanksgiving and worship take time to ask God to forgive us. Worship should always lead to repentance, worship sees God for who He is and allows us to see how unclean we are. (Isaiah 6).We can read Psalm 51 for a prayer for repentance.
The next is intercession. Move to praying for others needs and for our needs. If we use a list for prayer requests, bust that thing out and start praying. One lesson I was taught in this area was to pray for other’s needs first then put your needs last. Get prayer focused on God, then others, then lastly yourself. Make categories for this part of prayer. I usually begin to family, friends, ministers and church, government, and lastly myself.
The last is I usually end my prayer time reflecting and reading my Bible. This is also a good way to listen for the voice of the LORD. Usually other needs start to “pop” into my head and I can pray for those needs as well. This part is hard because we feel like we aren’t doing anything.
What about an environment for praying? Is this important? Yes! This is important. We cannot pray in a noisy environment. Every day I always pray in my bedroom or work room which there is no one else except me. I turn off the TV or other tools that can produce unwanted sound that can distract my prayer. I recommend that do not pray while lying on the bed. We can lose of focus and even worse I am afraid we can fall asleep! God does not want us to say “Amen” in the next morning when we woke up!
Well my dear friends, this is my thoughts about focusing in prayer. If anyone wants to add or just sharing experiences in prayer. Feel free give your comment here.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”(James 5:16)
Karina. Dedicated to Julie Garro (http://followhislight.wordpress.com)
Photo credit: foryouwhohaveanear.com