Overcome Distractions

Overcome Distractions

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

Among the enemies to devotion none is so harmful as distractions.

Whatever excites the curiosity, scatters the thoughts, disquiets the heart, absorbs the interests or shifts our life focus from the kingdom of God within us to the world around us—that is a distraction; and the world is full of them.

Our science-based civilization has given us many benefits but it has multiplied our distractions and so taken away far more than it has given….

The remedy for distractions is the same now as it was in earlier and simpler times: prayer, meditation and the cultivation of the inner life.

The psalmist said “Be still, and know,” and Christ told us to enter into our [room], shut the door and pray unto the Father.

It still works …

Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us.

So, let us cultivate simplicity; let us want fewer things; let us walk in the Spirit; let us fill our minds with the Word of God and our hearts with praise. In that way we can live in peace even in such a distraught world as this.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”

From A.W. Tozer, Set of the Sail: Directions for Your Spiritual Journey, pp. 129-132

 

To consider:

  • In all of the Western world, and especially in the United States, distractions abound! In the verse that Tozer quotes above, Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). The verb – “go into your room” – is important here. Distractions don’t often remove themselves! So, if we’re going to get alone with God we have to purpose to make that happen. We have to “go” somewhere and get alone with Him. Do you have a quiet place? What’s your strategy for shutting out the distractions that hinder you from getting quiet before God?
  • Tozer writes, “Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us.” Identifying specific distractions can help us to eliminate them. Which challenges repeatedly rise up against your prayer time? How might you minimize their effectiveness?

 

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Comments

  1. Good morning my church family. What a topic/blog !! Distractions are everywhere in my life either not by choice or of my own design. I am so very guilty of this in so many ways. I am grateful to be part of a body of believers that can hear hard truths and know that it is God speaking through His Word to draw us closer. And not just be hearers of the Word but doers. So today I choose the better thing before the sun breaks and pray that He will speak to my soul and breathe fresh life into what has been waiting for revival in me. Be blessed today.

  2. Distractions are all around us. Sometimes, our biggest distractions come within our own minds. If I haven’t been distracted away from my quiet time with the Lord, I find myself thinking about the day ahead, tasks that need to be done, planning dinner, or any variety of other thoughts when I am supposed to be praying and communing with God. I know it is just one way that the devil tries to pull me away from having a closer walk and relationship with God. After all, the last thing the devil wants to see is me becoming more like my Lord. There are many days he succeeds and many other days he does not. It needs to be a daily prayer to keep my mind focused on prayer(and not distractions) and what the Lord has for me that day.

  3. distraction comes all to easily to me. I have found at 5.oo am when my alarm goes off…I pray first then while the light is still off…grab my phone and read 2 devotions on my email…this allows a few minutes at least…for some quiet time with God. I know one of satans biggest tools used against me is distraction..So my tool used is alone time with God in the dark…before the light goes on I cant see anything…im able to focus on my devotion…

  4. I have found it helpful to restrain those things I DO have control over and leave the others to the Holy Spirit’s power. I simply refuse myself the “right” to turn on my phone until my specific devotional time with the Lord is completed. Keeping the stereo and TV off is also my responsibility. I even wear a pair of noise cancelling headphones when there are noises I cannot directly control ( tenants and their dog barking above me, next door neighbors having a shouting match, or construction on the street). These intentional audio guardrails[GODrails?] have allowed me to glean as much as I can from the One I need to hear from most desperately!

  5. Do you remember the movie “For Love of the Game” with Kevin Kostner? He stood on the pitcher’s mound with hundreds of people screaming, some directly at him (and not necessarily in a nice way). Talk about distractions! He closes his eyes and says “clear the mechanism.” He finds himself in almost a tunnel-vision, he and his trusted catcher, facing the batters – who he seems to know very well, commenting to himself of each one’s batting tendencies, or a personal recollection. Some with fondness, some with rivalry. The crowd noise is gone. He is so focused, nothing else seems to exist for him.

    Finding that space, that tunnel-vision, with God is difficult for me. It’s not just the noise (and there is a lot around here!)It’s all those things we’re supposed to “not” do. Do not fear, do not be anxious for anything, do not worry about tomorrow. Well, brothers and sisters – I have fear. I have anxiety. I worry. BUT – I also KNOW beyond knowing that there is a God in heaven who loves me. I have nearly 56 years of overcoming fear. Of seeing my anxieties and worries come to nothing. Or coming to reality (yeah…)and I’m still here.
    When I think of what He has brought me through – the truly miraculous, the truly devastating – I know there is nothing that can happen that He won’t see me through, walk beside me through.

    OK…time for me to “clear the mechanism.”

  6. I’m reminded of the movie “War Room” that emphsized the value of a sacred prayer space somewhere in your home. Imagine if instead of a Mancave that displays your interests in sports or hobbies, guests to your home could learn of your commitment to Christ and how you prioritize your time in communion with Him?

  7. Oh, those nasty distractions that we all face and have to deal with. They are rascals that find a way to invade our space and thoughts and very subtle at that. The battle I have found begins in the thought life so we know Phil. 4:6-8 is a powerful defense to keep those rascals from robbing us of God’s best. As my wife wrote, there are distractions that we have a measure of control over and surrender to the Holy Spirit those only He can control.

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