Focus In Prayer (ATP)
When you go to pray and just can’t, not because you’re mad or you don’t believe God will answer, but because you can’t focus, you try to pray but 2 seconds later you lose focus, something else enters your thoughts, or it’s just blank, is this a spiritual thing or mental thing?
This is a good question, but before I answer this question I want to ask and answer another: what is prayer? I do this because as it often is with the things of God, you need to ask different questions. Why would this be? The Bible says to ask and be answered, seek and you will find. This is because God desires that we know Him.
So what is prayer? Prayer, in its simplest form, is conversation with God. There are many types of prayer but in one way or another it comes down to this. Knowing this, I believe we need to change our approach. If you look at the way religion prays, you can quickly understand why we approach prayer wrongly. I am not just talking about Christian religion, but all religions seem to have a similar approach to prayer. Jews and Buddhist monks, Muslims, and even Christian denominations are similar in that when they approach God there are almost strange rituals that accompany their attempts. Notice I said attempts. Is this really what God desires? Is this what you would desire? I would point out, this is precisely the reason people (including myself) have struggled with prayer.
God loved us so much He sent us Jesus. Then to make it even more personal, He placed His Holy Spirit on the inside of us; Not next to us, not near us, but inside of us. God has revealed His desire and His character. He is a personal God and He wants to interact with us on a personal level! The reason most people struggle in prayer is because of their approach. I have been really seeking this out in recent times and this is precisely where God keeps leading me. If we approached our spouse or friends with the same tone or sense of obligation we often do with God, we would have terrible relationships wouldn’t we? Therefore we need to approach Him differently.
First, we must believe God. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a REWARDER of those who DILIGENTLY SEEK Him.” Also James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who GIVES TO ALL LIBERALLY and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” When we come this way, we start off in joy. Who wouldn’t be in joy knowing they are about to converse with their creator and He’s looking to bless them for it? When we change our way of looking at it from obligation to enjoyable conversation, we become more “into it” as many might say.
Second I say, start before you pray in His word. Any conversation with anyone is much easier when you are freshly acquainted with them. When I talk with my wife I’m almost always at ease. I know what she likes and doesn’t, I know my boundaries. We can talk in joy for hours because we KNOW each other. Similarly, we need to continually reacquaint ourselves with God and this because we can’t see Him. Romans 12:2 and 10:17 remind us to be transformed by renewing our minds and that faith comes by hearing His Word. We can sometimes forget that these apply as much to prayer as anything else.
Third, I’ll say this, don’t make prayer a “thing”. Yes, there are different types of prayer and it would behoove us all to learn them. However, we need to start with just seeking Him. Sometimes I praise, sometimes I ponder. Sometimes I pray in the Spirit (tongues), sometimes I sing songs. In all, I have been endeavoring to just spend time with my Heavenly Daddy! I make it personal, I get personal, I love on my God and He loves on me. I love what the mighty man of God, Smith Wigglesworth said, “I never pray more than 15 minutes but I never go more than 15 minutes without praying.” I do my best to keep my heart, mind, and mouth continually on the Lord and in this I have found the most satisfaction and effect. God wants us to know Him on an intimate level. We need to bring the candles, our desire.
Approach God in prayer like you want Him. Desire to know God in every area of everyday. As you do, the burden of prayer will be lifted and your prayer life will become what both you and God want it to be! Amen!