In the Luke 10 account of Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha, I aspire to be Mary, seated at the feet of Jesus, choosing the better way.
Too often I’m Martha, “distracted by all the preparations” needing attention. Like the biblical definition of distracted, I’m pulled different ways at the same time by the busyness of life.
Maybe you can relate.
We understand the importance of centering on him, and yet, we struggle with unwelcome thoughts hijacking our focus, disturbing our peace.
Jesus instructs us.
When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret (Matthew 6:6).
But has this happened? You go into your inner room, only to discover, pesky prayer trespassers have followed you behind closed doors?
In those times of weakness, I’ve learned to bring distractions before the Lord, asking him to search my heart, yielding to the Holy Spirit’s help.
I’ve also discovered a few practical steps for shutting the door on prayer trespassers.
Use your authority in Christ Jesus
As a follower of Jesus, you have authority to silence the voice of the enemy. Command the adversary to be silent. Welcome the Holy Spirit to speak.
Research shows the average person thinks in excess of 700 words per minute, but speaks only 100-150 words per minute. Praying aloud helps stem the rush of anxious thoughts. Your ears hear what your mouth is saying, bringing encouragement to your soul.
Journal your prayers
Writing also slows our pace. An added advantage is the ability to read back our prayers, thus gaining faith from our growth and God’s answers.
Join with Jesus in praying the Psalms. The Psalms were his prayer book during his time on earth. What an awesome opportunity to pray the same words Jesus prayed, to pray the very words the Spirit of Jesus inspired. Reading and meditating on Scripture initiates a Colossians 3:16 result. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”
Harness the to-do list
That to-do list dominating your mind isn’t always the enemy trying to distract you. Sometimes it’s the Holy Spirit reminding you. Rather than reacting with irritation, quickly write down the item, invite God into your daily schedule, then get back to prayer.
Fast the Internet
An intercessor friend shared how social media, text messaging and surfing the web infringed on her prayer time. One morning she sensed God say to her, “Whose voice do you crave most in the morning?” Now she refuses to turn on social media until after her prayer time.
Lean into gratitude
Name your blessings, count them one by one. Gratitude is a powerful deterrent to restlessness in prayer. Turn blessings into praise.
Meditate on this story
The gospel of Mark records an account of peace and tranquility related to prayer, although it doesn’t start out that way. It’s the story of Jesus clearing the temple.
Can you see the shock on people’s faces when Jesus enters the temple grounds, begins overturning tables, driving out money changers?
Can you hear the commotion? Do you hear the people yelling, money clanging, doves flapping, lambs bleating?
Do you hear his announcement? “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17).
And now, do you hear the silence?
Do you sense the peace?
Jesus can do the same for you. Invite Him to overturn the barriers, quiet the noise, and drive out distractions intruding on your prayer life.
Ask Him to make your temple a house of prayer.
How do you shut out prayer trespassers? I’d love to hear.