For many of us (and me), prayer is not routinely easy. To stay on task in my praying, I expend a lot of mental energy to focus and stay engaged. My mind wanders easily. Here are some ideas for staying focused in your daily prayer times.
- Pray at a specific time and in a distraction-free space. We are to pray spontaneously and pray continually. Jesus also encouraged us to enter our “prayer closets” for private, planned, and purposeful prayer (Mt. 6:6).
- Loose the lengthy prayer style and focus on brief, heart-felt sentences as you pray. Some prayers should be made with great details but successful praying also happens in simple, sentence prayers.
- Use a prayer list. Just a note card or a piece of paper that fits in your Bible or pocket is helpful. Make your list and pray your list.
- You cannot pray for everything every day. Link your prayers to your calendar for special people and needs. Ask your pastor which day of the week is hardest for him and pray for him on that day.
- Search for joy in your prayers. That joy will spill over into your life.
- Prayer is an expression of faith and belief. Pray believing.
I have recently found a huge source of help and structure in prayer by using PrayerMate on my iPad. This free app for iOS and Android devices has helped me focus and keep a steady prayer time. PrayerMate takes the prayer list into a digital and highly flexible, personal prayer aid. The setup is simple and easy. I even get daily missions prayer requests from the International Mission Board of the SBC on the app. After only a few weeks of use I began eagerly looking forward to my morning prayer time. Please check it out.
As we teach for transformation in small groups, let’s teach and practice ways to focus in prayer. All of us are leaders. Extend that into prayer. Be the prayer leader your group needs.
Scripture: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV).” How do you rejoice always and pray without ceasing?
Prayer: “Lord, show me more and better ways to talk with you.”
Walter H. Norvell is a resident fellow with B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and serves on the faculty of Williams Baptist College in the Department of Christian Ministries. He blogs The 1-Minute Sunday School Trainer at www.WalterNorvell.com.