I bow my head, close my eyes, lace my fingers together and begin to pray. “Dear Lord, I’m coming to you today as your child. I recognize your power and goodness. . .” Suddenly, my eyes snap open. I remember that my son hasn’t finished his history project, which is due the next day. I recall that he has an after-school basketball game, and I imagine him awake until midnight finishing his schoolwork. This leads me to worry that his fatigue will put him at risk for the flu!
C. S. Lewis wrote about distractions during prayer in his book The Screwtape Letters. He noted that when our minds wander, we tend to use willpower to steer ourselves back to our original prayer. Lewis concluded, though, that it was better to accept “the distraction as [our] present problem and [lay] that before [God] and make it the main theme of [our] prayers.”
A persistent worry or even a sinful thought that disrupts a prayer may become the centerpiece of our discussion with God. God wants us to be real as we talk with Him and open up about our deepest concerns, fears, and struggles. He is not surprised by anything we mention. His interest in us is like the attention we would receive from a close friend. That’s why we’re encouraged to give all of our worries and cares to God—because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Dear God, You know what’s on my mind today. Help me to experience the peace that comes from sharing my concerns with You.
Distractions don’t have to derail our prayers.
Because God cares so deeply for us, we can pray about everything (Philippians 4:6–7). Nothing is too small to bring to Him. And nothing is too big for God either, for nothing is impossible with Him (Matthew 19:26). Prayer acknowledges that we are weak and totally dependent on God. We may not fully understand the circumstances of our life, but we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control. He gives us His peace: “[God] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in [Him]” (Isaiah 26:3).
For further study on prayer, see Talking with My Father at discoveryseries.org/hp171.