Tag Archives: prayer life

Giving God Attention

How many times have you had a conversation with someone, but your mind was elsewhere? Probably too many times to count. I’m usually thinking about several things trying to solve a problem or find a solution to them. When someone engages me in conversation during these times, I’m honestly not listening to them talk in those cases. Im present in the conversation, but not mentally in it. To be honest, it even happens when I’m not trying to solve things, but I’ve had to learn that listening and engaging with others is one of the best ways to value them. I have to tell myself (while they’re talking) to pay attention and listen. Otherwise, if it’s not something I’m really interested in or don’t see how it relates to me, my mind wants to wander. I’ve had to train myself to be present in conversations.

If it happens to you with people, it also happens to you in prayer. How many times have you started to pray and then you remember you were supposed to do something? Our minds start to wander and think of things we need to be doing instead of engaging with God in prayer. Those voices need to shut down immediately or your prayer time will turn into a thinking time. I have to stop the thoughts the moment they come in. I’ve got a friend who keeps a notebook beside him when he prays. He writes down those things that pop in his mind so he has a to-do list when he’s done. He jokingly says, “I let the devil be my secretary. He tries to disrupt my prayer, but I use it as him giving me all the things I need to do.” However you choose to do it, prayer is something we must engage in with our utmost attention. We are speaking with the King of Kings after all. He deserves our attention.

Colossians 4:2 says, “Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving” (AMP). To get the answers we need from Heaven, we need to be persistent in our prayer. Jesus gave a couple of parables about this. We must also be alert and focused during our prayer time giving God all of our attention. Prayer closets are a good place to block everything else out to give God your complete attention. I also recommend leaving your phone somewhere else and finding a time when you won’t be disrupted by others. When our prayer life suffers, our relationship with Him suffers. God loves quality time and the best way to do that is to have a set time when you can engage with Him in prayer uninterrupted and to stay focused on Him. Quick short prayers are good, but they’re like text messages. A relationship can’t thrive on just texts. Have focused conversations with God too and you’ll see your relationship with Him bloom like never before.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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The Habit Of Prayer

I believe that there are several habits we as Christians can adopt in our lives to become the type of believer we truly aspire to be. While Hebrews 11 has compiled a list of heroes of the faith for us, there have been many people who have lived since that time whom we can learn from as well. If I were to ask you to think of a person, past or present, who exemplified a life of faith as a believer, you could probably think of a name quickly. Whether they were written about in the Bible, history, or have just touched your life in some way, they have habits in their life that you and I can adopt into our own lives to become that type of Christian.
  

Anyone you can think of that has a great relationship with God, has the habit of prayer in their life. Just like any other relationship, it is only successful when you communicate. Communication involves sending and receiving messages. Many Christians are great at sending them to God, but have a hard time receiving them. Either they don’t spend time listening during prayer or they don’t take time to read His Word. God is speaking to each one of us, we just have to choose to listen.

Listening to God speak is as much an act of faith as anything. If we hear it enough times, we will learn to recognize when it is God speaking and when it is our mind. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep recognize my voice” (MSG). The only way to recognize someone’s voice is to hear it several times. God expects us to daily hear what He’s trying to say to us as individuals and then to apply it to our lives. He’s giving the answers to what we are asking in prayer. If we don’t hear those answers, we aren’t listening.

One way you can know if it’s God speaking to you is that what He says will never go against what the Bible says. He is true to His Word. He doesn’t make exceptions. It’s very important to know the Bible if you’re learning to listen to God’s voice. That is the measuring stick to know if you are hearing Him. I peter 1:25 tells us that the word of the Lord will last forever. It will not be replaced. It will not be changed.

If you truly want to grow in your relationship with God, you’re going to have to spend quality time in prayer each day. Colossians 4:2 says, “Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving” (AMP). Great Christians know that the health of their relationship with God lies in their prayer life. If you want to be a better Christian, start spending more time on your knees. 

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An 80/20 Prayer

One of the things I talk to sales reps about is the 80/20 rule. I try to teach them to let the customer talk 80% of the time and they should only be talking 20% of the time. If they’re talking 80% and the customer 20%, they won’t have enough information to make a good recommendation. The interaction should be about the customer not them. I think the same rule should apply to prayer.

What if in our prayer time we let God speak 80% of the time and we only spoke 20%? How would our lives change? How would our faith change? We have a greater need to hear what God says then He has of what we have to say. He knows what we are going to say before we even speak. He knows the intent of our hearts. He already knows us inside and out. It’s us who have a need to know Him.

I’m not writing this as someone who has accomplished this consistently with God. I’m writing this as someone who has a greater need to know God more. I use words to fill up my time with God more than listening. When I do listen, He speaks. He’s always speaking to us, but we rarely listen to what He’s saying because we’re too busy talking during the time we give Him each day.

I love how the Message writes the conversation between Jesus and His disciples concerning prayer in Matthew 6. Jesus said in verse 6, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” The reason for prayer is to shift the focus from you to God.

Imagine how your life would be different if you shifted the focus from your problems, schedule, bills, hurts, hopes and dreams to God. Mark Batterson tweeted yesterday, “Talking to God about your problems is fine and good, but FAITH is talking to your problems about God.” We fill up our time with God talking about our problems instead of getting to know Him. We tell Him our needs, but never ask what His needs are. We ask for His help, but rarely offer our help.

Most of us would never want to be in a relationship as one sided as that. So why do we think that God wants to? I believe He wants to engage in conversation with each one of us. He wants us to get to know Him on a deeper level than we ever imagined possible. First of all, it takes finding that quiet, secluded place every day. The next step Jesus said was to just be there simply and honestly. He didn’t say to fill the silence with words. Just be there in that moment with God and listen. Open yourself up to what He has to say to you. That’s when you’ll begin to sense His grace and know Him more.

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