I want to commune with my Heavenly Father consistently and meaningfully. I spend time first thing in the morning reading the Word nearly every day. Then I begin to praise God and make requests to Him in prayer. And my mind races. Some of the thoughts that fill my mind are related to praying, but many are not – they are distractions. I start thinking about all kinds of things that are totally unrelated to what I am thanking God for and asking of my Heavenly Father. After some time I realize – I’m no longer praying, I’m thinking about something or someone else.
A couple of months ago the speaker at our church men’s retreat stated that the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) is the model for how we should pray. I started opening my Bible to it and using what Jesus said to prompt and guide my own prayers. And then I realized something very helpful. When I find myself distracted by unrelated thoughts racing through my mind, I can easily turn my attention back to the words of the prayer in front of my face and get my thoughts and heart back on track. It really helped!
So I decided to try something. There are other prayers in Scripture. Some are in Old Testament narratives, many are in the Psalms, there’s of course the Lord’s Prayer, and there are several in the Apostles’ writings, especially Paul’s letters. One morning I turned to Colossians 1:9-12 and wrote it out in my journal. Then I held the open journal in my lap and used Paul’s requests to guide my own. And it worked. When I realized my mind was far afield, I glanced back at the page and picked up where I had left off. And I knew that what I was praying followed a biblical pattern. I used this scriptural prayer for a few days, then I wrote out another one, Ephesians 1:15-21.
In recent weeks I have also used 2 Timothy 2:25, Psalm 23, and the first and last sentences from Deborah and Barak’s song in Judges 5, which I paraphrased as, Help me to lead, and the people to willingly offer themselves, and we will bless the Lord. Let those who love you be like the sun when it comes out in full strength. These prayers have helped me know how to pray, to keep from being distracted, and when I do find my mind elsewhere, to bring my thoughts back to my communion with the Lord. Because I have them in my journal, I can go back to them whenever I want, and can continually add new ones as I come across them or search them out in Scripture.
I experience other hindrances to prayer, but distraction is a big one, and this simple practice has helped. Maybe it will benefit you too. We all need help praying.
5 thoughts on “I need help praying.”
Thank you Pastor Taylor (via Jill’s facebook page). Great idea, as I often feel defeated at the end of my prayers for the monsoon of distractions. This will surely help. My love to Faith and the family!! Miss you guys!
I certainly have experienced the same kind of interruption. Part of the problem for me is not being able to see Him. Finitely, I envision talking to the Father…but are we praying to the Trinity? Can we talk to Jesus, our friend?
Perhaps these are not important questions. One thing I have begun to try: talking to our Father without asking Him for anything. For perhaps He enjoys hearing from us – as in “just checking in” – like I cherish those calls from my [all adults] children.
I know this is a little late from the posting, but I would to thank you for sharing this concern. I have to say, I also have had difficulty in the past, but I have been able to focus better on the LORD and the prayer when I pray aloud, and kneeling, as best I can. When I hear myself praying, the other distractions seem to pale in comparison.
PRAY TO WHOM?-BY STEVE FINNELL
Who are we to address our prayers to, God the Father, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Moses, John the Baptist or other dead saints? Are all of the above acceptable?
Mark 14:36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
Jesus prayed to the Father; Christians should assume that this is an approved example. Jesus did not pray to Moses, Abraham nor any other dead saint. (Note: There is no example in Scripture where the Father prayed to Jesus. Jesus was not the Father).
JESUS PRAYED TO THE FATHER!
Jesus said: Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
JESUS SAID PRAY TO THE FATHER! Jesus did not say pray to the Virgin Mary nor any other dead saint.
Jesus said: Matthew 6:9 “Pray, then, in this way:’Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
JESUS SAID DIRECT YOUR PRAYERS TO THE FATHER! Jesus did not advocate directing your prayers to the Virgin Mary, Abraham, Moses, the apostles, Peter nor any other dead saint.
Jesus said: John 16:23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
JESUS SAID PETITION THE FATHER IN HIS NAME! Jesus did not say to petition the Virgin Mary, the apostle Paul, nor any other dead saint.
The apostle Paul said: Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father,
PAUL SAID GIVE THANKS TO THE FATHER IN JESUS NAME! The apostle Paul did not say give thanks to the Father in the name of the Virgin Mary, Moses, the apostles, nor any other saint dead or alive.
Paul said: Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed , do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
JESUS IS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN MEN AND GOD THE FATHER, BUT THE THANKS IS ADDRESSED TO THE FATHER!
Paul said: Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
THE APOSTLE PAUL THANKED GOD THE FATHER THROUGH JESUS. PAUL DID NOT THANK JESUS THROUGH GOD THE FATHER, NOR DID HE THANK THE VIRGIN MARY.
Paul said: 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
JESUS IS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN MEN AND GOD. GOD THE FATHER IS NOT THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN JESUS AND MEN. The Virgin Mary is not the mediator.
The proponents who say praying to Jesus is Scriptural, cite Acts 7:55-59 ….59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said , “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
If I, like Stephen, see Jesus standing at the right hand of God then I might pray directly to Jesus, but until that happens I will continue to pray to the Father in Jesus name, just as Jesus instructed.
ADVOCATES AND INTERCESSORS
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins , we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
The apostle John said that Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father. He did not say the Virgin Mary was our advocate to Jesus through whom we might reach the Father. John did not say Moses, Abraham, nor any dead saint was our advocate with the Father.
John 14:16-17 “And I will pray the Father , and He will give another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. 17 “even the Spirit of truth…..
The apostle John tell us that Jesus the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are our advocates with the Father. The two advocates are God. The Virgin Mary, Abraham, the apostles, nor any other dead saint are God nor are they our advocates with God the Father.
Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and futhermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercessions for us.
Jesus makes intercessions for Christians. The Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, nor any other dead saint is qualified nor has the capability to intercede for Christians.
Romans 8:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession, for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for Christians. The Virgin Mary, Moses, the apostles nor any other dead saint can intercede for Christian.
Christians should pray to God the Father. The Christian’s mediator is Jesus Christ alone. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are our advocates and intercessors with the Father.
THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE THAT INSTRUCTS ANYONE TO PRAY TO A DEAD SAINT. THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE THAT TELLS ANY TO PRAY TO A LIVE SAINT EITHER.
PRAYING TO ANYONE IS WORSHIP.
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