Pray Your Distractions

People are talking, bells are ringing, dogs are barking...Lord, let us pray.

Posted in , Apr 17, 2015

Woman trying to concentrate. Photo: Thinkstock.

It happens to everyone. You try to pray. You get alone somewhere. You quiet yourself. Maybe you read a few verses of Scripture or a page in a devotional book. You close your eyes. You might even fold your hands and bow your head. 

Then you remember those thank you notes you were supposed to write; if you put them off much longer, it will be more embarrassing to send them so late than not to send them at all. You wish you were more disciplined in those sorts of things, but then you’ve more or less always been that way, haven’t you? It probably goes back to your childhood, when you had trouble finishing your homework way back in Mrs. What’s-Her-Name’s class. What was her name, anyway? And was that second grade? No, it couldn’t have been second grade because that year you lived in the house on, oh, what was the name of that street? 

Does any of that ring a bell with you? It is amazing how easily we become distracted when we try to devote even just a few minutes to prayer. It is as if the moon and stars and “all the ships at sea” conspire to prevent or interrupt a session of focused prayer (and maybe they do).


But you don’t have to be the victim of your distractions. Sure, the dog wants your attention. And sure, that friend you haven’t heard from in weeks chooses that moment to text your phone. Sure, it can be aggravating, especially when you’re already having trouble focusing your mind on praying to God.

But what if you see those “distractions” as prayer “prompts” instead of interruptions? What if you prayed your distractions? It might sound something like this: “Lord, please help the doctors figure out what is causing Mom’s physical problems. Whisper in their ear or tap them on the shoulder, whatever–oh, why does this dog want me to pet him now, when I’m trying to pray? But he is a good dog, Lord, and is so good for the kids. Thanks for that. Make me as faithful and patient as he is.”

Praying your distractions works on several levels.
It reminds you that anything and
everything can move you to prayer.

Or it might sound like, “God, I need your wisdom to deal with my boss. You know what a struggle it is for me when she does the things she does.”

You remember how well you got along with your old boss, in your previous job. You think about how much happier you were then. “Where was I? Oh yeah. So…why did my thoughts go there, Lord? Are you saying something to me? Are those thoughts an indication of how I should be praying?”  

It may even sound like, “Lord, I meant to be praying for George right now, but then I started thinking about baseball season, and well, thank you for baseball! For the crack of a wooden bat connecting with the ball. For pitchers with eccentric windups, for stolen bases and diving catches. For double plays and double steals, bunts and brushbacks, squeeze plays and home runs. Now, about George...”

Praying your distractions works on several levels. It reminds you that anything and everything can move you to prayer. Over time, it may make you more adept at distinguishing between meaningless interruptions and God tapping you on the shoulder.

And who knows, it could signal your subconscious–or even the enemy of your soul–that you can no longer be deterred from praying, because you are one of those who have learned to “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1, NIV).

Do you struggle with distractions and interruptions in prayer? How do you deal with them? Do you think this suggestion might help? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments field below.

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