Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 52 – Self Control In Prayer

1 Peter 4:7

When I am at work I and I have a lot to do, I can zero in and focus on that job so intently that people can walk up to me and scare me because I don’t see them coming. When I have less to do, I can still get the job done; however, I have difficulty focusing and become easily distracted. I think that may be because the urgency to get the job done isn’t as strong because I have less to do with more time to do it. It is all in my mind because I feel relaxed when I have less to do and focused when I have more to do. I have found my prayer life to be the same. About a month ago, I had an opportunity to spend a day alone with God. It was a wonderful and refreshing time and it was great to spend that much time with God. But I also came to that moment prepared so I would not lose focus on what my purpose for the day. I had asked a friend to pray with me before my day so I would stay focused and I brought my prayer journal with me that listed the prayer needs for myself and others that I had been praying about. I wanted to keep my mind focused on listening and talking with God during that precious day. Please turn to 1 Peter 4:7.

When we are focused on growing spiritually, we do certain things like going to church, reading the Bible, perhaps joining a Bible study, and prayer. Those things are called spiritual disciplines and there is a reason that discipline is used to describe those practices; they require self control or discipline to carry out those principals on a regular basis. I have a friend who leads a beautiful example of one who practices spiritual disciplines. At first, she may have started because she knew that it was good to do, but now it is her life source. If she did not spend time in prayer and reading the Bible and having spiritual friendships she would be lost. She knows that her strength comes from God and she cherishes the time she spends with Him. I love spending time in the Bible and I talk to God throughout the day; however, I struggle with spending a set time with Him each day because I lose focus. I asked my friend how she does it and as I suspected, she told me she has a plan. She starts her day with about 15 minutes of prayer on her knees, but her deeper prayer life is spent in the evening when she goes through her prayer journal. She told me that she can get caught up in the day’s distractions but she writes out her prayers to keep her focus. This keeps her “clear minded and self controlled” so she can pray.

Everyone is different. Perhaps you hate writing, so writing out you would be more distracted if you wrote them out; you need to find what will help you keep clear minded during your prayer time. John Ortberg wrote the book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted where he talks about spiritual disciplines. If you struggle with finding a way to spend time with God in prayer, I would highly recommend this book. He shows many different ways to spend time with God and talks about how there is not one way to pray. Don’t forget that God was creative when He made us and we all are going to relate to God in different ways. Our job is to find how we enjoy being with God. Building a strong prayer life is important because that is the time we can grow more intimate with God.

Are you showing self control with your prayer life? What are you doing to stay clear minded during your time with God?

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