I have a confession to make. Sometimes, when I start to pray, my mind goes in a million different directions. My prayer time actually ends up with me making a mental “to-do” list of everything on my plate. Does this ever happen to you?
More times than I’d care to admit, my prayers go something like this: “Father, You are such an awesome God. Thank you for who You are and what You’re doing in my life. I really need you today. Please help me to be more patient with the kids… Oh, that reminds me, I need to take E to her orchestra rehearsal today, and T to his cello lesson… Sorry, Lord… And please comfort our friends who recently lost their father to cancer. I know it must be so hard for them, Lord… Shoot! I forgot to send out that e-mail about the special speaker at co-op. Oh, and I need to go to the grocery store on the way home from cello lessons. OK, let me think here… we’re out of milk, bread, eggs and peanut butter. Wait! Don’t I have to cover the admissions table at the volleyball game tonight, too? Oh, man, I hope the traffic isn’t terrible on the way home from Indy, or I’ll never get there on time…
And then, I open up a new note on my iPhone and start making a to-do list, completely forgetting that I was right in the middle of the most important to-do of my day – asking God for help!
So what’s a distracted mess of a mom to do? Is there a solution to my A.D.D prayer life?
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a few tips that help me focus more on God when I’m praying and less on my to-do list. At the top of my list is this wonderful technique:
#1 Pray Scripture
Choosing a passage of Scripture and praying through it is the best way I know to stay focused! If you’ve never tried it (or even heard of it), here’s an example:
Ephesians 3:14-21 is one of my favorites because the author (Paul) actually starts out with, “For this reason I kneel before the Father…” Perfect! And although Paul was praying this prayer for the Ephesians, I pray it for my children, or for myself, or my husband, or all of us! All I have to do is change a few words here and there, and it becomes a very personal prayer:
Father, I pray that out of Your glorious riches You will strengthen my children (insert names here) with power through Your Spirit in their inner beings, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. And I pray that they, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep Your love is, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that they may be filled to the measure of all Your fullness.
See how easy it is? For me, this method is almost distraction-proof because the Scripture is right in front of you, and you’re reading it as you’re praying. Unless you’re an incredibly talented multi-tasker, it’s next to impossible to make a to-do list and read simultaneously!
Some of my favorite passages to pray are: Ephesians 1:17-19, Colossians 1:9-14, Colossians 2:6-8, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, Hebrews 12:1-3, Psalm 8, Psalm 25, Psalm 62:5-8, Psalm 63, Psalm 73:25-28, and Psalm 86. (Really, the Psalms are a treasure trove for this technique, since many are written in prayer format!)
Have you tried praying Scripture? What are some of your favorite passages to pray?
(During the month of October, bloggers from far and wide are linking up their posts on one topic for 31 Days. Check it out at The Nester's blog!)