Wandering Thoughts

Once people have started praying, the most common barrier to prayer is wandering thoughts, even among people who have a consistent prayer life for years.

Ø  In a global survey of prayer run by the Teal Trust in 1998, over 80% of respondents found this at least "sometimes a problem".
Ø  Two thirds also found noise or other distractions a problem. 
Ø  A similar survey by the Evangelical Alliance found that "keeping concentration" was also an issue, with 40% of respondents mentioning this as a barrier to prayer.

Things to consider:
Ø  Many Christians lead busy lives, with our minds working in overdrive to cover all of the things that we need to think about and accomplish
Ø  When we stop to pray, it takes time for our mind to change track and to focus in on God
Ø  Expect there to be times when your mind will be distracted learn affective methods of dealing with it
Ø  Don't “beat yourself up” over wandering thoughts; but at the same time don’t be content to let your thoughts wander
Ø  Just as when we are in conversation with others, our minds do have some apparently irrelevant thoughts, and need to be returned to the topic at hand
Ø  Remember that Satan will do his best to distract us when we pray  

Helpful Hints:

  1. Ask God to help you bring your wandering thoughts into captivity
  2. Remove yourself physically from as many distractions as possible
  3. Listen to a praise and worship CD
  4. Sing to the Lord a hymn or praise chorus
  5. Read a psalm or another passage from the Bible and meditate on it
  6. Pause and reflect on what you have to be thankful for
  7. Bring those distractions to God in prayer
  8. Quickly write those distractions down and then go on praying
  9. Write out your prayers
  10. Pray in a different location

Material adapted from: Prayer Guide