Are you distracted when praying to God? If you hesitated in your response, consider this scene and ask yourself if you can relate.
When Your Quiet Time Is on Autopilot
You begin the morning by stumbling into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee absentmindedly then amble to the living room to begin your morning with the Lord. Wishing the caffeine would kick in a little faster, you thumb through whatever devotional or Bible reading plan you are currently following. You settle on a tried-and-true passage hoping to gain new insight the twentieth time you read it.
Between sips of coffee you try your hardest to comprehend the familiar words, but your mind wanders. Suddenly amid the morning haze your day’s plans flash to your mind. And before long you are rushing through your Bible because you want to get started with the day.
But then you remember you should pray, halting your racing mind. After a sigh of reluctance, you close your eyes and pray familiar words to the Lord almost as if scripted: asking for blessings on the day and protection over your family and provision for daily needs. You confess a few sins that first pop into your mind, then end by thanking him for his mercy and grace. In Jesus name, amen.
Not Posture, Method
We can all easily find ourselves stuck in the same prayer habits, leading us to an ineffective time with Lord. Christians often struggle in their prayer life—not knowing what to pray and offering distracted prayers. With so many things competing for our attention, we need to be more fervent in creating the space to commune with the Creator God.
The good news is that as born-again believers, we have been given a great gift: the Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 1 Cor. 6:19). Christians indwelt with the Spirit desire holiness and fellowship with God. There is so much that is available to believers in prayer! You are probably longing for this depth with God too. It may not be your posture that is off but your method.
After I incorporated a new method to my daily devotions, I was pleasantly surprised at how it breathed new life into my time with the Lord. If you feel like your prayer life is on autopilot or you find yourself preoccupied with the cares of the day instead of offering them to the Lord in prayer, I hope this new method helps to refresh your prayer life as much as it has dramatically refreshed mine.
“Pray the Bible”
If you only had ten minutes to either pray or read the Bible, which would you choose? I would tell you to answer: “pray the Bible!” It’s as simple as it sounds.
- Read a verse of the Bible
- And turn it into a prayer to God
A good place to start are the Psalms. It’s shockingly simple and doesn’t take years of spiritual development to be effective. This concept has radically elevated my personal prayer life.
By reading each verse and turning it into a prayer you are not only praying God’s Word back to him (the Psalms were intended as songs to be sung to the Lord) but you also gain new vocabulary in your praying so that you don’t pray the same old things again. John Piper says this about praying the Bible:
“For me it is absolutely essential that my prayer be guided by, saturated by, and sustained and controlled by the Word of God.” (Praying the Bible, p.55)
For a detailed explanation of this method of praying the Bible I commend Donald Whitney’s book Praying the Bible. This short book can be read in an afternoon and has the potential to completely change your perspective on prayer.
Now It’s Your Turn
By changing your method, you can invigorate your prayer life to be a fruitful, blessed time with the Lord. My encouragement for you today is to practice by praying through one Psalm (Whitney recommends starting with the Psalm that corresponds to the day of the month) and see the benefits of praying God’s Word back to him.
If you incorporate this simple change, you may no longer stumble your way to God’s Word each day and offer up distracted prayers but come to your time in prayer expectantly.