Prayer is often difficult to prosecute and one of the many reasons why this happens is because of distractions. For us to pray effectively, we must figure out how to overcome distractions in prayer.
One important criterion for praying effectively is focus. It is an expensive commodity for receiving anything in the spirit.
We see it play out in the event of Elijah's rapture into heaven by the chariot of fire. Elisha asked for the double portion of Elijah's anointing and the prophet iterated it is was a difficult task that could be achieved if Elisha saw him go.
As we all know, Elisha's dogged focus and resilience saw him get the double portion of the anointing on the life of Elijah.
Likewise in prayer, we need to have unmetered focus while we pray as this will make our prayers more effective. The devil understands this and as his custom is, he tries to disrupt your focus with distractions in prayer.
This article is written to help you identify strategies with which you can overcome distractions in prayer.
It is important to note that there are distractions that keep us from praying and there are some that disturb us while praying. The former includes things that make us not to have time for prayer while the latter are things that stop us as we pray.
The strategies I would be showing you would be addressing the distractions that disturb us while we pray. Let me share this story with you so you understand the nature of what we are dealing with.
I was praying one day trying to fellowship with God. At a time when my prayer was getting heated, I began to see immoral pictures and my thoughts were obscene.
As these pictures were flashing in my memory, I began to have an erection. It was so bad that I felt ashamed of myself and I decided to stop praying.
Not only was that a distraction as I prayed, but it also hindered me from praying for awhile.
Yours may not be like mine. Your distraction may come in form of things you need to do. Maybe a call you have to make, a text you need to reply to, and so on.
The devil just tries to stop our fellowship with these distractions and we must figure out a way to stop him in his tracks else he will make our prayers lack potency.
From my experiences and the experiences of others, I am sure that these strategies on how to overcome distractions in prayer will help you deal with any arrow the devil will try and shoot at you while you pray.
Without further ado, let's see what these strategies are
5 Ways To Overcome Distractions in Prayer
1. Fill Your Spirit & Mind With God's Word
The foremost strategy for overcoming distractions in prayer is the word of God. The reason why the devil can flash pictures our way while we pray and cause us to be distracted is that our minds are full of his deposits.
From movies to music to pictures, the devil's innovations sip into our minds and when we pray he just simply projects them.
To curb this, we must edify our spirit and mind with God's word. Apostle Paul speaking said we should be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:2).
This renewal is possible by God's word. We can not deny the fact that as we go about our daily activities, we encounter things that could cause distractions while we pray. Nonetheless, the cleansing power of God's word can salvage us.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. – John 15:3 [KJV]
God's word can cleanse us from the contamination we suffer when we interact with the word.
For the cleansing power of God's word to take effect, we must read, study, and meditate on the word. We must be like the man in Psalms 1:
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. – Psalms 1:2 [KJV]
Reading God's word out loud, studying, and meditating on it will fill your mind and give the devil's devises no room to find expression in you.
2. Pray Out Loud
I discovered that the devil tries to take advantage of me when I am muttering prayers.
The moment I increase the tempo of my voice and begin to pray out loud, those images just dissipate.
Praying loudly is another strategy to overcome distractions. Do not keep quiet when the devil tries to bring thoughts your way to distract you. Instead, distract yourself by praying louder.
Sometimes, you will need to quote scriptures as you pray. This is why you need to feed your spirit with God's word.
When the devil project thoughts and imagery to me, I quote scriptures like:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. – Psalms 19:14 [KJV]
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; – 2 Corinthians 10:5 [KJV]
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. – Psalms 51:7 [KJV]
Your words are greater than your thoughts. So when the devil begins to send ugly thoughts your way, speak out against them.
Do not be quiet. Speak up. Let the devil know your mind is not his workshop. Let him know that your mind is the womb of God's spirit and his thoughts have no place in it.
Speak words to yourself continuously. It is a battle you will have to fight continually until the devil gives up.
Pray loudly. Recite scriptures you have stored in your spirit. Speak words to counter the thought projections of darkness.
3. Pray Intentionally
Most times, our prayers do not have a goal and intent. Some persons just pray because they need to pray and not because they have a purpose for their prayers.
Although this is not bad in itself, the devil can exploit this and use it to his advantage. To counter him in this regard, we must pray intentionally.
Even if you want to pray for edification, place a goal in front of you and fix your mind on it. Do not speak in tongues carelessly as though you are wandering.
Be intentional about your prayer enterprise. You mustn't have a prayer point before you pray but it is wise to hold on to something when you pray.
If you can do so and focus on it squarely as you pray, the devil will not have enough grounds to distract you. So, always have a burden, a prayer point, or a goal while you pray.
Don't just start shouting in tongues because you want to fulfill some religious rite. Pray intentionally to avoid distractions as you pray.
4. Discipline Yourself
The devil's subtle act of deception gets a foothold when we have allowed his deposits into our minds.
There are so many satanic pictures, movies, videos, and texts that perforate the media and the internet.
As we watch TV and surf through social media, we encounter these satanic items. Hence, we must be disciplined and ensure we put in strategies to avoid those items.
Be careful about what TV stations you watch. Always read about a movie before you watch it, so you don't watch an x-rated movie.
Streamline the contents that flood your News Feed on Facebook or your Twitter or Instagram page by following the right people.
Discipline is the key. Apostle Paul said:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. – 1 Corinthians 9:27 [KJV]
Our flesh will always want to see those pictures and videos. Do not be deceived that you have become matured enough to look at immoral content.
Be disciplined. Put your body under so the devil does not find a foothold in your soul.
5. Seek Help
The final strategy to overcome distractions in prayer is to seek help from God. In the first four ways, I showed you things you can do by yourself to overcome distractions but the truth is, by strength can no man prevail.
If you will effectively pray over distractions then you must be helped by God. On a general note, prayer is not possible except God helps us.
See what Romans 8:26 says:
Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Notice that "our infirmities" are in plural, indicating that they are numerous. One of them is the devil's attempt to distract us when we pray.
God's Spirit is given to us to help us overcome this and the many other infirmities we suffer as we pray.
When you start to pray, ask God for His mercy and help. Prayer is not based on your strength or your ability to speak in tongues well. You will overcome distractions in prayer not because you follow the steps I have outlined but because God looks upon you with mercy and helps you.
Prayer is a spiritual activity and it is only God's Spirit that can supply you with enough strength to pray effectively.
Final Thoughts & Takeaways
The devil tries to distract us while we pray either to stop us from praying or to make our prayers less effective
God's word is an important tool in overcoming distractions in prayer and we must engage it every day of our lives
Help from God's Spirit is needed not just to overcome distractions but to help us pray effectively