Staying Focused in Prayer: Step 3 - Letting God Speak Through the Distraction

We moved to the States a number of years ago. Although I haven’t picked up an American accent, and I still sound very British, I’ve noticed my vocabulary has changed. I say “sidewalk” instead of “path,” “elevator” instead of “lift,” and use “cool” as an explanation instead of “brilliant.”

My expectations have changed too. Things I like and have become used to in America, I now demand when I go elsewhere. So, I may come across more American. “Er, we booked a king-sized bed,” I exclaimed to the staff on reception after discovering a queen-sized bed in our London hotel. “Madame, a US king is different from a UK king.” “Really!” I exclaimed. I’m still trying to work out that one.

When we spend a lot of time with a person or group of people, their language, mannerisms, and habits start to rub off on us. We become like them.

We become more godly through prayer.

It’s the same when we turn to God and spend time with Him — reading His Word and in prayer — we become more godly. It’s inevitable. In fact, there’s a biblical word for it — sanctification. We are becoming more and more like Jesus and less like the person we once were.

So, in the process of praying about our distractions, and discovering what’s really bothering us, we find feelings and reactions we shouldn’t have in our lives because they may lead to unhealthy actions.

Discovering the jealousy I felt towards my sister came through spending time with God. It needed attending to. I’m going to admit something to you. Giving up how I felt was not easy. I had a good reason to be jealous, so I thought.

It’s wasn’t fair for my sister to have a “mother figure” in her life when I wanted one. So, when I realized what was behind my consuming and wandering thoughts, I didn’t let go easily. I sulked. “It’s not fair.” “Why, God?” “Why can’t I have what she’s got?” “Why won’t you give it to me?”

It’s best to be honest with God about how we feel. He knows anyway.

If we can’t let go of feelings on our own, we need God’s help to free us from what’s unhealthy. But, we also need to do it because these emotions — these temptations — can turn into something far worse.

As I contemplated my feelings, I realized left unchecked I would have acted out. I would have phoned my sister less, and been offish. Worse than that, I would have met with my aunt in London — trying to get one up. That was not how I wanted to behave

This week, follow these directions:

  1. Bring what you discovered in Step 2 to God in prayer.
  2. Think about the unhealthy actions that could follow. Bring these to God, too.
  3. Ask him to take the temptation away.
  4. Ask him for forgiveness if you have followed through with negative behavior.
  5. And, if necessary, apologize to the person involved.
  6. Ask God to replace your distractions with his qualities.
Staying Focused in Prayer: Step 3 - Letting God Speak Through the Distraction
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