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
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
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
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
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.