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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Praying — but distracted

Trying to pray

Yesterday I was trying to pray while walking by the creek near my house.

I was praying about a number of concerns, including a friend who had some needs.  But then —

Am I planning enough for our retirement?  Am I doing enough?  Maybe we’ll both die before then and I don’t even need to worry about it.  That’s probably not very wise … oh.  I’ve stopped praying.  I’m sorry, Father, help me …

So I went back to praying for that friend, and then for some needs in the church.  But then —

What blog post should I write next?  Maybe about the promise in Jer 32:40?  That could be good.  Or maybe why faith needs specific, biblical promises and … oh.  Doing it again.  Please forgive me, Father.  Free me from these distractions.  Help me to pray …

Then I went back to praying for wisdom as I prepare for preaching on the Sermon on the Mount.  But then —

I’ve got to plan for our home group leaders’ meeting this coming Sunday.  What are our biggest needs?  We’ve got two new home groups starting — does that change anything?  Last time we met we … oh.  Stop.  I’m being distracted — again.

No heart-connection

This time I took it more seriously.  I realized that I was just praying through my list — without having any heart-connection with God Himself.

And because my heart was not captured with God — it kept being captured by whatever random thoughts flitted through my noggin.

What to do?

How can a non-captured heart become a captured-heart?  Not by my will-power.  But by God’s power.

After all, David wrote — “He restores my soul” (Psa 23:3).

So I confessed to God the shallowness of my prayer.  I trusted Jesus’ death on the Cross as my forgiveness.  I asked God to restore my soul.

And then I set my heart on one of my favorite stories about Jesus — when He raised the widow’s only son from the dead (Luke 7:13-15).

I thought about Jesus’ compassion — how God-in-the-flesh cared for this widow whose only son had just died.  I praised Him for His power — that Jesus spoke a word — and this boy’s corpse was alive.

Heart-change

And as I thought and prayed and worshiped — God restored my soul.  My heart changed.  I was seeing Jesus.  Feeling Jesus.  Loving Jesus.

And when I returned to my list I was no longer just going through the list.  I was talking to the One whose compassion and power raised a widow’s son from the dead.

My heart was no longer bouncing from distraction to distraction.  It was drawn to Jesus — like iron filings to a magnet.

Comments, questions, feedback?

I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to leave a reply below.  Thanks.

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And here’s more on dealing with distractions.

 

Category: Help with Prayer, Stories from My Life

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3 Responses

  1. Pam says:

    Thanks – I’ve been struggling with being distracted and your comment ‘And because my heart was not captured with God – it kept being captured by whatever random thoughts flitted through my noggin’ really ‘captured’ my attention. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Pam,

      I’m so glad this was helpful for you. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

      And let’s press on to have our hearts completely captured with God Himself.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  2. Louise says:

    Yes this is my problem often. I want to pray and do pray daily but then…there goes my thoughts, or phone, or doorbell or…. Good to know others have the same struggle. I often say Lord I’m sorry for being distracted and I don’t want to seem like I’m marking off my grocery list. I want to have precious communion with Him minus distractions! May He restore my soul and capture my heart!

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