Where is Your Mind When You Pray? 5 Ways to Get FocusedJanuary 7, 2014
In 1550, a number of religious and influential people met in Essex to discuss the position of one’s posture in prayer. Some contended that prayer should be observed while standing, others said prayer is at its best when kneeling. They also discussed whether or not a covering should be placed upon one’s head while entering into the prayer closet.
After much discussion and debate, the council agreed by in large that attitude, not position, was the greatest condition of prayer. Bodily posture, though important in prayer, should never supersede the posture of the mind. The question therefore stands to be asked: where is your mind when you pray?
If you are like most people, your mind drifts, wonders, and gets off track. What good is it to bow before the throne of God, if your mind is standing in the courts of man? No matter what position you choose in prayer, one thing is certain: wherever your mind is, your prayer will follow. I wonder how often our prayers really reach the throne.
Today when you pray, evaluate the posture of your mind. Have you bowed your thoughts to God? Have you directed your mediation toward heaven? What is really on your mind when you speak your mind to God? Here are a few suggestions to help direct your mind and thoughts to God when you pray.
1. Remove Distractions.
Physically this is easy to do. We can find a quiet spot whether it be the woods or the closet. But getting in a quiet place doesn’t necessary rid your mind of distractions. When I say remove distractions, I mean primarily from your mind. How often do you go into the prayer chamber only to think of other things?
2. Keep a Good Mental Prayer List.
This list doesn’t have to be on paper, but if you compile certain things to pray about BEFORE you enter prayer, you will be more prone to stay focused. Be intentional and specific. Call out names, situations, and issues before God. Center your mind on the particulars, and avoid cheesy, meaningless drivel. Having a mental prayer list will allow you to move from one thought to the next without being bombarded with noisy nuances.
3. Pray the Scriptures.
This will help your mind absorb spiritual truth while at the same time rid your mind of carnal thoughts. Pray the Psalms to the Lord. Take a verse and pray over it, pray it verbatim, pray it multiple times until you memorize it. This helps us get in tune with the mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of prayer.
4. Think about Christ, Glorify Christ.
When I make much of Christ in my time of prayer, I sense a spiritual awakening in my heart. Try this: before you pray, think of Calvary. See Christ on the cross dying for your sins. Hear His words of forgiveness. Embrace an empty tomb, notice the rolled stone, and see the Resurrected Christ in His glory. This is Who you are talking to! How can we think of anything else when we really understand Who it is we are conversing with?
5. Rely on the Holy Spirit.
There are times when we do not know what to say. This is when the Holy Spirit gives utterance to our prayers. This is when He intercedes on our behalf and speaks to God for us. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.”