We've all had it happen, haven't we? We're trying to pray, perhaps alone or in a group, and soon our mind is wandering. We're thinking about the next meeting, our kids at home, a funny story, our struggle with our spouse or coworker, a song we heard on the radio and a thousand other things.
Of course, we feel guilty again for not focusing on the Lord and the things that break His heart as the saying goes. We determine for the next few minutes to stay with our prayer list and seconds later our mind is somewhere else . . . again.
We wonder if we really have what it takes to truly have a conversation in prayer with our Father. However, I'm more and more convinced every day that we need to embrace those distractions not curse them. Sure, if we're just letting every stray thought enter our mind and interrupt our time with God then we probably need some better boundaries for our mind and location when we pray.
But the average distraction of our mind is probably there for a reason. I'm pretty convinced that many of those other thoughts come into my mind because they are important! There is a reason why my mind went to that person, situation or conflict.
As a result I've learned to do something different when that kind of distraction overtakes my prayer moment. I pray about it.
I now often pray something like this, "Lord, my relationship with Don popped into my mind just now. And you know how strained it's been for the last several months. I want to ask you to soften my heart and Don's so that we can become friends again, forgive each other and renew a healthy relationship."
I just let the Spirit take me to that place rather than run from it. Of course, sometimes the Spirit can stop us and tell us that we don't need to dwell on that situation right then but that's up to God.
In fact, distractions like these often represent something going on in the deepest places of our soul which is the place where our God specializes in doing His greatest work.
So don't miss these opportunities to let God wander with you into those tender recesses of your mind and heart. It would be easy to ignore something important that God wants to help you walk through. Remember a distraction just might be a wake up call.