I declare! Sometimes I think I have conversational ADD! I am super focused, but my problem is that there are often just too many things to focus on – and they all want my attention right now!
Tim comes home from work and we sit together to talk. I tell him a bit about my day and he tells me about his. When he’s talking about people and office politics, I’m pretty much right there with him, but when he begins to get technical (how many ppt are in the bazillion gallon tank and how the resin reacts with the sodium hypochlorite while flowing through polyvinyldenefluoride pipes….) my mind leaves the conversation. I don’t even realize when it leaves! One moment, I’m trying intensely to understand what Tim is saying, the next, I am mentally preparing dinner and reviewing what we’ll need to do after dinner. I’ve taken to repeating everything Tim says when my brain is busy so I can stay with him!
The worst is while I’m trying to pray and focus on the Lord. I close my eyes to pray and listen, but my To-Do list is knocking on my brain. Without realizing it, my eyes drift open and I am staring out the window. “Gee, those bushes need pruning … isn’t that gerbera daisy blossoming beautifully! … I better water it … I wonder how many oranges we’ll get this year… I wonder if they’ll be as icky as they were last year! … I need to ask Tim to kill those ants who are digging out all the sand from the pavers … poor Tim, he has so much on his plate right now … (sigh) … how can we find more time? … Oh, Lord, help Tim … OH YEAH, I WAS PRAYING!!!” I slam my eyes shut in an attempt to focus and begin to pray again, only now I’m more than a little irritated with myself.
I know it’s not the Lord’s fault! It’s not like He’s a bore! (Not that Tim is either.) There’s no more thrilling time of my day than when I finally quiet down this brain and hear Him. It is always a work in progress though. Here are a couple of ways the Lord has shown me that make it easier though. (Keep in mind this blog is about focusing; it’s not intended to be about how to pray. That wouldn’t fit in just one blog.) Please comment and let me know what works for you!
First, invite the Holy Spirit and uninvited the enemy! Go ahead, tell the enemy to keep his trap shut. You have the authority in the name of Jesus!
Start with praise and thanksgiving. Focusing on the greatness of my God helps drowned out all the clatter of my worries.
Pray out loud. This helps me focus while I’m praying, but of course, you can’t hear Him if you’re the only one talking! So this only works for part of prayer – the part that involves talking, not listening.
Journal. This is an excellent concept and works very well to get the right side of your brain to shut up while the left side can listen!
Recognize where you are! You are not just in your prayer closet; you are at the throne of God!!! If I acknowledge and see myself there, my focus is not only better, it is heightened!
These are a few of the things that help me focus when I pray. What are some of yours? Or am I the only one with this conversational ADD condition?
“I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.” Psalm 119:58