Read Psalm 33
It’s so easy to get distracted when praying. I’ve made it my daily liturgy to get up early and make prayer and Bible reading the first part of my day. But even when the house is quiet and there are no distractions, my mind has a hard time being still. I’m fighting sleep, I’m thinking about what I’m expecting from the day ahead of me, if I watched a movie or TV show the night before, the story may still be running through my mind. And when I finally settle down to pray and focus on God, there is my prayer list calling out to me. If I’m not careful, my prayer list becomes my priority and my prayers soon become remote and cold. When this happens, I’ve missed God. I haven’t spent time abiding in His presence because I’ve taken over control of the time and have missed His loving embrace.
Do you ever have this problem? I’m not saying that praying for people and needs is bad. Absolutely not! The Word of God tells us to make our requests known to Him, to pray for the sick, etc. But if your list is getting in the way of you seeking God’s heart, then something is wrong. Your list has become a distraction and a hindrance. You may need to surrender it to Him.
I’m reminded of the movie For the Love of the Game with Kevin Costner. This movie was about a professional baseball pitcher who pitched a perfect game when everyone thought he was washed up and ready for retirement. Every time the pitcher went up to the mound, the fans of the opposing team would heckle him from the stands, blow loud horns to distract him, yell insults. To focus on the task at hand, the pitcher would say, “clear the mechanism,” and the entire stadium would become perfectly still and quiet. All the pitcher would see was the batter. His mind was now focused and he was ready to pitch. This is how we need to train our minds when we come to God. Like the pitcher who focused on the batter in this movie, we need to see only God when we pray. We should see that He is right here in the room with us, waiting to commune with us. If the list starts calling out to us as we approach the throne room of grace, we need to clear the mechanism and refocus on God. If our mind is skipping around to all kinds of thoughts that are taking us away from our heart touching God’s heart, we need clear the mechanism. Look at the Father. God wants to meet with us in our innermost being—that is His priority. He wants to commune with us—with you! Hold you in His arms, pour His love into you as you pour out your love to Him. Don’t you think God knows what is on your mind and what is on your list? If and when He wants you to pray from that list, He will lead you to it. But wait for His lead. Don’t rush in and take over control to get to your list.
Look at it this way. If God is not the Lord of your prayer life, how can He be the Lord of the rest of your day? If you can’t give up control to Him when you are in His presence seeking His face, how easily will it be when you are out in the world, rubbing shoulders with the unsaved? Our time in the morning with God is the most important time we have for God to lead us and teach us to surrender and abide with Him. He wants to teach us to let go of our priorities so that He can direct us—even in our requests. If we can learn to love and adore Him during our quiet times with Him, then His joy, His Spirit, His abiding love, will begin to spill out into our everyday lives.
So clear the mechanism today and seek only to touch the heart of God. Let God direct your prayers and he will direct your life.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)