Sometimes when I pray I get distracted and start thinking about other things. How do I stay more focused?

This is a challenge for many believers, because it is hard for us to stay focused on something invisible when there are so many visible things in front of us. We may have every intention of spending time with God, but it’s amazing how easily our minds wander to other things. In Ephesians the apostle Paul encourages us to stay alert in our prayers. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18) Even Jesus recognized all the distractions of the world when it comes to alone time with God. “Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35b)

Jesus approached prayer differently than most people, and you can approach it differently too. Try making a list in a journal or on a notepad of everything you want to pray about. Then, use the list during your prayer time to keep your focus. As you see God answer prayers on your list for you or others, check the prayer off and add a note to keep praising God for that situation. As humans we often forget how faithful God has been to us in the past, so refer back to the old items on the list, and keep praising Him! “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2)

Another idea would be to journal your prayers. It’s hard to lose your focus when you’re writing down every word, and although it may take a little time to get used to, journaling can become addicting when you think of it as writing letters to God and each and every word will start to become more meaningful to you. (You can journal on your computer too in a word processing program---but steer clear from using an online journal as a prayer journal)

Try the ACTS prayer model to “organize” your prayer life and stay focused!

Adoration: spend time praising God for who He is (His character). One idea is to pick a different name of God used in the Bible each week and praise Him for that role. (ie—Jehovah Rapha means the Lord heals. You can find an extensive list here or here).

Confession: spend time confessing your sin to God. Try to be as specific as possible, because we become more aware of our need for God’s grace when we recognize His mercy in light of our failures. This will prepare our hearts for thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: recount the things that you are thankful for, beyond the material blessings in your life. It’s great to thank him for all the ways he’s blessed you with a good home, great family and friends, but also remember to thank Him for his mercy, grace, faithfulness, etc. in our lives.

Supplication: this is where we present requests to God. A good way to keep this from becoming a wish-list mentality, be sure to pray God’s will in all that you ask. Recognize that God is not a vending machine, and He will answer your prayers according to His sovereign design and in His time!


Comments (11)

BallerinaGirl:

Lately, I have been journaling my prayers to God. It makes it so much more realistic and keeps me on track, to say. Because, in my head, it was like my thoughts were getting all "mixed in" with my prayers. It's like my prayer was going on and so were my thoughts and then I found myself thinking "Woa...wasn't I praying just now?" Now I'm thinking about what I'm going to wear tomorrow or that I need to finish that research paper, etc. In a journal, we aren't going to write down all those thoughts and so it kind of "blocks" them out, if that makes sense to you...I hope this helps. God bless you all! I encourage you to try a prayer journal!

Tiffany:

Thanks!~! I get distracted every time when I pray,and I'm not even concentrating on God that much,my mind just starts boggling,and thinking what I have to wear to youth group, or like I have to call my friend back, and etc. now that I'm starting to write in a journal my mind is more focused on God,and I also love to write so thanks agin!~!

Jenna:

This is such a big problem for me! I try really hard to stay on track but my mind just drifts away and i start thinking of other stuff, just like BallerinaGirl. I'm definitely going to try the journaling thing.

Taylor:

Thank you so much! I have a really big problem with saying my prayers at night. My mind just drifts off and sometimes I fall asleep before finishing them! I know God doesn't like that, hey, I wouldn't like it if someone was talking to me and they started daydreaming. I need to be more focused and have a desire to talk to Christ. I've asked God to do a work in this area in my praying and it's getting better. I keep a prayer journal and it helps. Thank you soo much and God bless!

Esther:

yep, i kno wat itz like to be praying and suddenly u drift to wat ur mum told u 2 do n wat 2 wear, (is that always at the back of our minds or wat?)i think i'm really going 2 try the prayer journal, i love 2 write so....i'm hoping it works out. thanx so much!

Morgathol:

Amen!! I will just echo all that everybody has said. I struggle w/ staying foucused but often i feel fustrated that i don't get an immediate response. thank you for this encoragement.

Sydnee:

thank you

Sydnee:

This helps a lot. I mean this happens to me often. I will definetly try the prayer journal. Give God The Glory

Olivia:

i keep a journal, (and i think it helps me to just get things off my shoulders, so i don't have to get distracted by them) but when i write in it, i just write. i will try that prayer thing. i want to recommend a book, it's called lucy doesn't wear pink. READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rachel:

Wow this helps so much! Because when used to pray I would fall asleep or my cellphone would ring! But I started keeping a prayer journal and it helps SOOO much

Sheryl:

I have struggled with this for a long time. I wake up every morning with migraines. After taking my meds and putting my black mask around my eyes, that is when I pray, don't want to sit there wasting time when I could be praying. I start praying for my family then off goes my mind to problems we may be having, then I have to call the Lord's name to get me back on track. I have a written prayer list also which I always felt was mechanic praying but it does keep me focused on the Lord when I pray for other times that I pray. I cannot look at anything while praying when I have a migraine :(

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