Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
There are many reasons we come before the living God to pray. Sometimes it's for thanksgiving and praise, other times for others, and often it's just for our own needs. We pray as we walk or run, drive, mow the lawns, clean the house, or work on-the-job. We pray according to personal commitment, need and urgency, or when the Lord puts something on our hearts.
If our heart is right before God, all those instances are acceptable. But at times, the Lord seeks deeper prayer communion with us, achieved in our quiet place or War Room, where just the Lord and we are present. We also manage this deeper connection in prayer meetings.
During these precious times, the Lord wants our undivided attention, and most times, we think we are giving it. Yet, there is a phenomenon that occurs during deep prayer, which you may have noticed.
Have you ever thought it odd when you kneel to pray that, not long after, your best worldly thoughts seem to come to you? The best business ideas, best relationship concepts, and answers to all sorts of things suddenly flow in, and you think they are from God?
They may not be. In fact, those thoughts are probably not. I think I've shared before when, many years ago, I found this out about myself. I would kneel to pray, and then, within a couple of minutes, the flow would begin. I thought it was all from the Lord. The routine and ideas got so amazing that I kept a notepad and pen beside me as I prayed. I felt blessed beyond measure with all the answers. As I worshipped the Lord, these wonderful thoughts would flow into my mind.
But, as I chewed this process over, I realised these thoughts were actually distractions from what I had come there for in the first place — to commune with God. I noticed these cunning disturbances came, not at other times, but during prayer, when I would kneel before the throne of Grace to be at one with my Lord.
It seemed to me, the Holy Spirit within me was trying to seek God while my natural spirit was writing down the answers to these human solutions on the notepad. These two spirits, meant to be working together in harmony, were, in truth, at work on two separate projects.
Often the Lord puts people and issues on our hearts to pray for, which is different. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails little if the two spirits within are not in unison. That one-accord comes about by training our minds to counter all distractions. Our minds and hearts are to be absorbed in and satisfied with that spiritual communion. After all, are we not coming before the throne of the living God? At that time, we are to be one in the Spirit, not two. If those distractions are vital, the Lord is well capable of bringing the information back to us at a more suitable time.
Can you imagine Aaron, Israel's High Priest, bringing the incense into the Holy of Holies and being distracted? His total focus would have been in single-minded in reverence.
When we haven't fully given our human nature to the Lord, it still seeks worldly fulfilment and answers. This division of spirits may also be the cause of many of our other issues.
Next time you kneel to pray, see if you can recognise this peculiarity and stay focussed on the Lord. His throne of Grace calls for our undivided attention.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, I know I've been distracted many times in worship. Things pop into my mind before I've realised they are distractions. Please empower me to recognise and resist these intrusions to focus solely on you.
Photo by Ben White