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Outmanoeuvre Wandering Thoughts

Outmanoeuvre wandering thoughts. One of the biggest hindrances to an effective prayer life is the problem of mind wandering. This greatly distresses many Christians. How do we cope with this vexing problem?

When the mind wanders, let the thing to which it wanders become the focus of your prayer. For instance, a plane flying overhead while you are in prayer.

Begin to focus on the crew and passengers of the plane. Ask God to keep them safe and to give everyone on board an understanding of His love for them as expressed in the Cross.

Here the mind wandered, but in the end it wandered to God. A lady told Pastor Selwyn Hughes during a counseling session: 'But I am distracted by anything. The slightest noise in the house, the sound of barking dogs, an ambulance or police siren in the distance .. .'

At the moment she was speaking a police car went by with its siren sounding and the Pastor said, 'Now let's put my advice to the test. Now that your mind is focused on the siren how will you use it to aid rather than to defeat your prayer life?'

She thought for a moment and bowed her head in the counseling room and prayed this prayer. '0 Lord, this siren is distracting me but I realize it is just a warning for people to move out of the way so that the police, or ambulance, might get to the emergency faster.

Father, I am so deadened to the plight of those who are lost and going to hell that I, too, need to be alerted by an even louder siren than this.

Make me aware of the danger by which men and women are threatened without Christ.' Tears ran down her face as she prayed that prayer.The distraction has become a direction - to God.

If you are beset by wandering thoughts, perhaps even evil thoughts, then instead of wrestling with I hem, trying to beat them down, use them as a prayer focus.

A man was afflicted by evil thoughts the moment he got down to prayer. Lustful images would rise unbidden into his mind. Unable to cope with the problem he gave up on his prayer life and soon he came for counseling defeated and downcast.

He was shown how to take each lustful thought and use it to God's ends. This is how it was done. When a lustful thought entered his mind (in his case, a naked woman or an erotic bedroom scene)

He was advised not to try and push it from his mind (that merely uses up emotional energy to no good purpose) but to picture Christ standing with him, looking on the image in his mind.

He would then, in his imagination, turn to Christ and pray along this line: 'Lord, you can see this image that is before me. I know it comes from that part of my nature that is carnally inclined.

Sex was designed by You to be beautiful and clean, but in my thoughts it has become defiled and impure. Fill my imagination with such a picture of You that it will take up the whole perspective of my thoughts.'

As this man learned to focus his wandering thoughts on Jesus and use these moments to develop a conversation with Christ, he found, after a while, that whereas before he was unable to dismiss the wandering thoughts with a peremptory word, they were now elbowed out by the vision of Jesus that he held in his mind.

Christ is the centre of all things pure. Lustful images steadily dissolve on the steady gaze of His searching eyes. The thing that looked so seductive a moment before looks loathsome with Jesus consciously present.

Coolness in the place of heat, and serenity instead of desire, are the reward of those who are swift to bring Jesus alongside the pictures that enter the mind.

The man told Pastor Selwyn some months later that practicing this method of overcoming mind wandering made Jesus more real to his heart than He had ever been before.

'I have such a clear picture of Christ in my mind and I have developed the art of conversational prayer to such a great degree,' he said, 'that, although I hesitate to say it, I feel almost thankful that I was plagued with these evil thoughts, as they have become the stepping stones to a more personal and dependent relationship with the Lord.'

Any Christian, bent on winning the battle over wandering thoughts or evil thoughts, can by using the method described above, outmanoeuvre the problem in a few weeks, or at the most a few months.

The wandering thoughts can be handled in the way I have shown in a matter of days. It takes a little time to get into the habit of dealing with issues in the manner described, but after a while, and with practice, you will be able to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

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Do you have a prayer need? The Worthy Prayer Team are more than willing to pray with you if you contact them.



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