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.
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
- Ask God to help you bring your wandering thoughts into captivity
- Remove yourself physically from as many distractions as possible
- Listen to a praise and worship CD
- Sing to the Lord a hymn or praise chorus
- Read a psalm or another passage from the Bible and meditate on it
- Pause and reflect on what you have to be thankful for
- Bring those distractions to God in prayer
- Quickly write those distractions down and then go on praying
- Write out your prayers
- Pray in a different location
Material adapted from: Prayer Guide