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6 Practical Prayer Tips for When Prayer Feels Hard!

Written by Don Bartemus on

What does God think about your prayer life? When answered from our perspective it is tempting to think that he is disappointed beyond measure. After all he has done—and is still doing for us—how could our response be anything other than a constant, fervent, focused prayer? How could we settle for anything less than ongoing, joyful, grateful, adoring prayer?

I have over twenty books on prayer. . .just at my church office. I have more at home. I know what I think about prayer, but what does God think about my prayer?

What Does God Think of My Prayer?

Fortunately, God is love. He knows you better than you know you and he loves anyway. He knows that for eternity you will get it right, and he knows that right now you are not getting it right!

For example, your mind wanders when you are praying. Be honest (in fact, your mind is probably wandering off this article right now). That is when you are alone and praying; what happens when you pray in a group with others who are praying?

Your mind wanders to: What am I going to say when I pray? Why did they say that in their prayer? How will I get that assignment done for the boss? Why is the price of gasoline so high? I have so much to get done, how will I get it all finished?

How to Address a Wandering Mind

What can you do about your wandering mind? Below are a few insights:

  1. Not all wandering is bad. It could be that God is leading your mind in directions which are helpful.
  2. Pray with a pen and a notebook. Writing can keep you on track and help you to follow your thoughts back to God. It is okay to open your eyes and write things while you and others are praying.
  3. Open your Bible while you pray. The best book on prayer is the Bible and you should use it to focus your attention.
  4. Stand up or walk around. A change in posture can bring things into better focus. If I am tired and am sitting in a comfortable chair, I often do this because, well. . .let us just agree that snoring during prayer is embarrassing.
  5. Use your imagination. Imagine Jesus sitting next to you or across from you. Talk directly to him.
  6. Talk with others with whom you pray and ask them what they do to keep their minds from wandering in the wrong direction. They may have some good ideas.

And When Your Mind Wanders. . .

A key to keeping on track is planning. So, the next time you go to prayer, make a plan for avoiding distraction. But if you wander, think of the Good Shepherd smiling and prodding you back to the flock with his loving rod and staff.

Happy praying!

Don Bartemus

Don Bartemus is the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at College Park Church. He and his wife, Cheryl, have been in ministry since 1981. Don believes Compassion Ministries exist to respond to the physical needs of people in order to participate in the fulfillment of the purpose of God in their lives.

Don came to faith in Christ at the age of five through a Christian family. He attended Cedarville University, received a B.A. in Bible. He attended Grace Seminary and earned a M.Div. in Biblical Studies and later a Doctorate of Ministries from Grace Seminary. Don and Cheryl have been in youth ministry, teaching ministries, and pastoring in the states of Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana.

He is passionate about caring for people through hard times and enjoys spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.

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