How to beat prayer distractions

Published on 3rd August 2015
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by Clive Seychell

There are many misconceptions of prayer. Some believe it’s simply asking God for favours. Others think it’s just babbling some prayer we would have learnt by heart since we were kids. Others assume it’s a duty. Some think it’s our last resort when we are in trouble and others believe it’s simply a waste of time. All of the above cannot be further from the truth. Prayer is the fulcrum of the Christian life because it is through prayer that we come to know our amazing and beautiful God. Prayer above all is an attitude of the heart – a heart that seeks, yearns and thirsts for God in all circumstances. Personally, prayer is the most beautiful journey I have ever embarked on.

Prayer above all is an attitude of the heart

1. Beating the distraction of Busyness

There are so many distractions around us and within us, that prayer becomes a very difficult ‘task’. A very common distraction is busyness. Most of us have the belief that God is simply one of the many available options. We fill our lives with what makes us feel important, wanted and approved. We end up doing things not because they make us happy but because we look happier. We say things not because we believe them but to make others believe in us. We buy things not because we like them but because we want to be liked. Until this gets tiring and realise that God is not an option. We are like battery-running toys. We are the toys and God is our battery. Without Him we might look like all is well but we’d be ‘dead inside’.

2. Beating the distraction of Noise

Prayer is essentially listening to God. But for most of us it is impossible to hear God’s words when we have so much ‘noise pollution’ within our hearts. The noise is our shame that keeps chasing us, the guilt that keeps pulling us, the feeling of unworthiness that keeps closing us within ourselves, that failure or that addiction. It simply becomes impossible to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to our heart saying, ‘I love you!’ We forget that we are His sons and daughters (and that’s no joke!). It is only God’s love that can truly change us. When the beloved experience the love of the lover, the beloved cannot remain unchanged; the beloved is transformed!

3. Beating the distraction of Sin

Finally sin is also a very common distraction, no matter where we’re at in our spiritual journey. David was called a man after God’s own heart not because He was sinless but because when he came face-to-face with his own sin he did not run away from God but he ran towards God. He knew the heart of God. Most times following our sin we run away from God but David knew that God desired him even after he sinned. So he went straight to pray and humbly prostrated himself in front of God.

Let us not let anything distract us from prayer – from experiencing ‘the breadth and length and height and depth [of God’s love], and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge’ (Eph 3:18-19).