3 WAYS TO FIGHT DISTRACTIONS DURING PRAYER

3 Ways To Fight Distractions During Prayer https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/09/26/3-ways-to-fight-distractions-during-prayer/

The shrill of my alarm clock draws me from a deep sleep. It’s six in the morning and still dark outside. I pull a robe over my shoulders and shuffle like a zombie to the coffee pot. Usually, no one else is up this early, other than the cats. It’s a good thing too because it’s not a pretty sight. And anyone who has attempted to trifle with me at this hour did not repeat it a second time!

After fifteen minutes of sitting comatose and several swigs of joe, I manage to mumble, “Good morning, Lord.”

Next, I pick up my Bible and journal like I’ve done for several years. Then I begin to speak to God for awhile before opening the Word. This has been part of my normal routine for several years.
But there’s something else that used to dominate this routine—DISTRACTIONS.

You see, it was at about this point (after the coffee had kicked in) that my mind would begin to wander and daydream.

Oh, we need more laundry soap.
     I’m supposed to bring a snack to the classroom today.
Ugh, I don’t want to forget that snack or the room parent will make me feel like such a loser.
             How is she always so put together?
                   What should I make for dinner tonight?

Before I knew it, I’d wasted a lot of time on random thoughts. Feeling guilty, I would admonish myself then attempt to cram in a few minutes of prayer and Bible reading before it was time to get ready for the day.

Some mornings were better than others, of course. On those mornings, I’d pat myself on the back. I had started out my day like a “good Christian”.

I wonder if you can you relate?

I wish I could tell you that I no longer struggle with distractions from God. The truth is, I do. But now it’s occasionally rather than the norm. Over time I developed some strategies that I hope you will find helpful. The strategies are intended to be used during a segment of uninterrupted (do your best) and daily God-time. Not the quick prayers in the shower or on the way to work. Although these are great, they should not take the place of “alone time” with the Lord.

3 Ways to Fight Distractions During Prayer

1. Keep Post-It Notes or To-Do List Nearby

Because my mind seems to wander to the things I need to get done. I’ve learned to keep paper near my Bible to write things down. I cannot tell you how helpful this is! I simply take a quick detour to write down whatever it is (things for the grocery list, an event coming up etc.) then get back to my prayer or reading.

to-do-list

I also have my journal handy, because some of those distractions are things I need to pray about. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Pray with a Pen

Writing something down takes intention and focus. This is exactly what I needed. I still remember the first time I decided to write down my prayer. That was over twenty years ago. The journal is not a replacement for speaking prayers to the Lord, mind you. It serves to help focus and organize my thoughts. Once I’ve written down a few things, I’m usually able to carry on with my prayers mentally and/or vocally.

A little organization goes a long way. I mean, let’s face it, there’s a lot of stuff to pray for. It can be mind boggling. Writing down prayer concerns helps. I actually have two places I write prayers down. One is a journal for personal thoughts and prayers (pic below).img_1308

The other is a ringed notebook with tabs. The notebook has two parts.

Section one: Prayer Focus for the Day

I don’t have the time to cover many of the events that happen in this world the way I’d like to. So, I have categorized some major topics and written them in the front of the notebook where I have assigned them a particular day of the week. Under each day, I have written a prayer focus. Here’s an example:

 

Sunday
Leadership —country, state, city, church, my home, schools/teachers, boss

Monday                                              img_1309
Focused family prayer

Tuesday
Extended family, friends

Wednesday
Neighbors and the lost            

Thursday
Warfare

Friday
Focused family prayer

Saturday
Missions

Daily
My family and Oikos (Greek word meaning the 8-15 people I have regular contact with)

Section Two: People Close to Me

Next, in my ringed notebook, I have individual tabbed sections for each of the following: my husband, kids, extended family and friends, church and misc. concerns.

3. Pray Scripture Aloud

The disciples asked Jesus how to pray, so I decided that I would model what Jesus told them in Matthew 6:9-13 which is often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. I pray the exact words from scripture but add my own as well. Using scripture as a guide helps me stay focused. I’ll give you an example. First, read the Lord’s prayer below. Then next you’ll see an example of how I pray.

“Our Father in heaven,may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.”

My paraphrase may look something like this:

Father in heaven, I never want to forget how holy and wonderful you are. Even though I have my thoughts on how I think you should answer my prayers, I know that Your will is best and that is what I truly desire. Thank you for how you have provided for our family. Please forgive me for the way I lost my temper with the kids yesterday. Help me with the temptation of lashing out like that today.

There are many amazing prayers in scripture that I read and pray aloud for myself, family and friends (inserting my name or a loved one’s name). Take a look at one of the apostle Paul’s prayers below.

I pray that from his (God) glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

Don’t you just love Paul’s prayer! By the way, I’m praying this prayer for YOU!

I’ve included some other prayers from the Bible below. These are only a few of my favorites. Just click on the verse which will take you to the scripture at BibleGateway. You may want to consider writing them on a notecard or in a journal.

More great scripture prayers!

Exodus 33:13, Ephesians 1:15-23, Philippians 1:9-11, Psalms 51:1-8, James 5:15, Psalm 63 (the Psalms are filled with many prayers)

Don’t beat yourself up about distractions during prayer. Beat the distractions with a little organization!

work-management-907669_1280

My friends, the Lord looks for persistence rather than perfection. Keep on seeking Him!

Blessings,
Beckie

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have suggestions that have helped you stay focused during prayer?

This post is linked to #LMMlinkup: http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1283

 

HOW BLOGGING HAS MADE ME A STRONGER CHRISTIAN

blogging-464042_1920

How Blogging has Made Me a Stronger Christian

I’m doing something a little different this week. I’ve enjoyed linking up some of my posts at Literacy Musing Mondays in the past.  This week I’m helping host their linkup http://maryanderingcreatively.com/lmmlinkup-blogging-brought-one-woman-closer-christ/  If you’d like to participate, instructions are at the end of this post.

Heart pounding, my finger hovered just above the enter key on my laptop. I drew in a deep breath and clicked “post”. That was almost two years ago and yet I still go through some of the same angst before publishing a blog post.

I write because I have fallen in love with God and His word and desire to share my journey in hopes of inspiring others. When I began writing Spotlight, I never imagined the blessings and trials that I would encounter—and yet it is both that have made me a stronger Christian. Here are a few reasons why.

Teaching Means Learning Double

“To teach is to learn twice over.” ~Joseph Joubert

Every post requires research and study of scripture. Blogging has made me a better student of the word as I teach to others what I have learned.

“Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” Luke 6:40 NLT

I’m Accountable to My Readers

Research shows that putting a goal in writing along with sharing it with others increases our success by 85 percent. Since my major goal is learning and putting into practice scripture, blogging is a huge benefit to me in my spiritual growth.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT

Support and Prayers from Others

I cannot express how grateful I am for the support of other writers and Christians. I’ve gained a large community of some wonderful encouragers and supporters whom I’ve also learned a great deal from.

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT

Trials—it’s not all Rainbows and Butterflies

Blogging means making myself more public, and with that have come some difficulties. I have also noticed an increase in spiritual warfare. These issues have occasionally made me want to put a halt to sharing with the World Wide Web, but I know that God has used the trials to strengthen and grow me.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 NLT

You don’t need to be a writer/blogger to benefit in the same ways I’ve listed above. All of us are called to teach, be accountable, support, and pray for others. In addition to these, the Bible states we will go through trials and tests in order to strengthen our faith.

God uses the many things we go through in our lives to draw us closer to Him—IF we will let Him.

“But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I.’” John 5:17

Even though my heart still pounds just before hitting “post”, the pluses of blogging far outweigh the minuses because God uses the process to lead me closer to Him.


Now on to our weekly Literacy Musing Monday’s linkup where we link up posts about what inspires you in reading, writing, blogging, and even share our written Bible devotions. Be sure and go all the way to the bottom of this post to linkup.

First,  let’s

Meet-Your-Hosts-3

Leslie@Forever Joyful  Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+Gayl@Words, Photos, and ArtBlog/Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/TwitterMary @Maryandering Creatively  Blog/Facebook/Twitter/PinterestInstagram/Google+Tami @ThisMomsDelight    Blog/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram/Google Plus


Now let’s celebrate family-friendly reading and learning.

 

Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!

Everything Is Possible

by Joanne Viola

jen-bricker-everything-is-possible-663x1024

More than just a book review and a book review, Joanne’s post simply inspires. This book is one I want to add to my to be read shelf.

My favorite quote that Joanne shares from this inspiring book is :

Where will your path take you if you decide to push yourself to do what you were meant to do? Where might you find yourself that you never dreamed possible?

Be brave. Dream big. Have faith. And don’t be scared to look down. The view is pretty spectacular.

Joanne inspires too by sharing this sweet review. Be sure to check it out.

My Favorite Post of the Week:

 Kids begging for a pet, but the time isn't right? Enjoy one of these books about pets together for a humorous & realistic glimpse into pet ownership.

I have pets and love animals; so, this post drew me in immediately.  Look at the adorable picture used for the post, I just had to check it out. I  have read most of the books features and also highly recommend them. I would at Because of Winn Dixie.  What is your favorite pet book? Share.
Remember to check out other hosts’  blogs to see which posts from last week were their favorites. Want to be the next to be featured! Just link up a post and if you are read the most, we will feature you. Also please make sure you link back to us so others will know about our link up and join in. We try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin our most clicked and featured posts to our Pinterest Board each week!
 Now, it is time to link up to the Literacy Musing Mondays hop! You will have until Saturdays at 12 p.m. now to link up! So come back often.:)

Also congratulations to the winner of our Back to School PayPal Giveaway: Jessica Miller.

Literacy-Musing-Mondays- Family-Friendly linkup where we celebrate reading!

Linkup Rules:

  • Include a link back or the blog hop button linked to this hop on your posts.
  • Link up the urls to your posts not to your blog.
      1. Please remember this is a family-friendly linkup. Although we believe in the right for adults to read whatever they want to read, we prefer to read wholesome posts that feature literature that edify and uplift families. We reserve the right to delete any posts that are not family friendly. We love all kinds of literature and genres including family-friendly inspirational romances, fantasy, or science fiction. We do not welcome posts featuring books or writing with excessive violence, sexual content, or cursing. These posts will be deleted.
  • We also want to be loving community by supporting one another. Please make a point to do this this week! Visit the two posts before yours and at least one other blogger’s post of your choice!  I want to see lots of clicks on everyone’s posts. Remember it is also nice to follow them on their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Follow your hosts and co-hosts on their social media.
  • Tweet about the link up too.
  •  Now go here to linkup: http://maryanderingcreatively.com/lmmlinkup-blogging-brought-one-woman-closer-christ/

    Once on the site above, scroll down to the bottom and click the blue button that says: “add your link” 

    DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?

    girls-whispering

    Psst! Do You Want to Know a Secret?

    I took a bite of the delicious looking chocolate cake I’d been admiring on the counter throughout the entire dinner. Then I took another. And another. This cake tasted even better than it looked! After I finished the last bite (licking the fork clean and dabbing the crumbs off the plate with my index finger), I casually asked my friend for the recipe.

    “Oh, it’s a secret family recipe. Sorry.”

    I nodded and smiled politely. But inside I was what you might call, irritated.

    Seriously? Does she have the recipe card behind lock and key? I imagined my friend entering a silver vault with an armed guard.

    Is it like Mr. Krab’s secret Krabby patty recipe that Plankton is forever devising a plan to steal? How ridiculous!

    Finally, I decided that if she wouldn’t give me the recipe, then I’d try to figure it out on my own. How hard could it be? Flour, sugar, butter, and of course chocolate, had to be the main ingredients.

    Guess what? I’ve never figured out that recipe! I’ve made a few very tasty chocolate cakes in the process, but nothing compares to the cake with the secret family recipe. So annoying!

    chocolate-cake-1576487_1280Throughout my years of cooking, I’ve had two other similar experiences like the one with the chocolate cake, but with a twist. This time, I was actually given the recipe, but the end result didn’t taste like the original. One was my friend’s salsa recipe and the other was my grandma’s authentic meatballs. My grandma was born it Italy. Enough said.

    When I told my friend that I followed her salsa recipe, but it didn’t taste quite as good as her’s, she offered to come over and make the salsa with me. I was delighted.

    Now I would know the secret! (mu aaa ah!)

    I’ll tell you the rest of that story in a little while. But for now. . . it’s a secret. I’m giggling at your response as I type this. Don’t you dare skim through this article in search of the secret salsa recipe. What I have to say next is more important. I mean it!

    Human beings are a curious lot. We have an affinity for mystery, lost treasure, secret codes, and the like. If we are told that something is a secret, we naturally want to find out what “it” is.

    The apostle Paul tells us in the first chapter of Colossians that God had given him the responsibility of serving the church by proclaiming God’s entire secret message.

    This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people.” Colossians 1:26

    Screeeech! Stop right there. Secret message? What is Paul referring to?

    For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Colossians 1:27 (emphasis mine)

    I hope you caught the significance of this. For centuries this message had been a mystery—meaning the entire Old Testament until the birth of Christ which is about 4,000 years.

    Paul goes on to say, “I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.  In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3

    Are you getting this? For 4,000 years God kept this message a secret. And now today we not only know the secret, but we have access to all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!

    The proverbial cat is out of the bag, people.

    As Christians, you and I have the spirit of Christ Jesus living inside of us which also means we have hold of the secret treasures and wisdom of God!

    We have been given the keys to the kingdom! (Matthew 16:17-19)

    So why isn’t the church acting like it?

    The message is no longer supposed to be a secret. Salvation through Christ is meant for everyone.

    “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14

    I’ve been asking myself a tough question lately:

    When was the last time you told someone about Christ?

    I’m not talking about at Bible study or church. I mean someone who needs to hear the message of salvation.

    And here’s another tough question:

    Are you keeping Christ a secret?

    Remember the secret chocolate cake recipe I was telling you about? Listen, my friends, Jesus is not like that. He isn’t a secret family (church) recipe. Nope. Nope. Nope.

    He’s more like my friend who came over to show me how to follow her salsa recipe. I had the ingredients. I had the recipe. But I needed her to show me the technique/method. Jesus has given us His precious Holy Spirit to show us the technique. These are the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that Paul was writing about.

    We are called to show others Christ’s love with our actions as well as our voices.

    We are called to lead other’s to Him by our example. When I look at this world in all its depravity, it’s clear to me, that we aren’t sharing the secret (no longer supposed to be a secret).

    We are called to lead other’s to Him by our example. When I look at this world in all its depravity, it’s clear to me, that we aren’t sharing the secret (no longer supposed to be a secret). Or at least we aren’t sharing it nearly enough.

    At the church I attend, we often speak of the Greek word Oikos. No, I’m not talking about the yogurt. Oikos means extended family. A group of eight to fifteen people with whom you share life most closely, your sphere of greatest influence.

    This simply means we all have a small group of people in which we have regular contact (and influence). I’m not talking about standing out on a street corner, handing out tracts, or going door to door. What I am saying is, we really don’t have a good excuse not to share Christ with people we see at work for eight hours a day, or the soccer parents, or the neighbors who live across the street.

    It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a simple act like bringing up the neighbor’s trash cans. Or not letting your anger get the best of you when someone cuts you off on the freeway. People are watching us. And people need to see Christ’s love demonstrated in tangible ways. Then when we do speak up about our hope, they are much more likely to listen to what we have to say.

    It’s all about relationships. Our relationship to God, our families, friends, and our Oikos.

    I’m determined to share the secret recipe. I have the most spectacular news this world has ever heard and I’m going to share it.

    How about you? Are you up for the challenge?

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress here on Spotlight.  I hope to hear from some of you too. Please email me or comment below this blog post.

    Oh yeah, I haven’t forgotten about the salsa recipe. You’ll find two yummy recipes below.
    salsa-and-chocolate-cake-recipes

    Enjoy and God bless!


    Here’s a quick video clip where I demonstrate “the secret method” to making the salsa recipe. Thanks for watching.

    This post is linked to:
    http://www.create-with-joy.com/2016/09/inspire-me-monday-week-245.html

    Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup: In Honor of September 11

    http://www.leahadams.org/the-loft-link-up-fall-recipes/