I mentioned in the post about thoughts that I really struggle with focus sometimes. I think a lot of people do. When I am praying or reading my Bible, my mind tends to wander this way and that until suddenly I realize I don’t know what the last 5 verses said or I realize that I haven’t been praying for a full 5 minutes. I try to do better, but it takes work.
And this stuff is important! Prayer and Bible reading are two of the ways that we can communicate with the Holy God!
In Philippians 4:6, we’re told, “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” and Ephesians 6:18 says we should be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Then, of course, there is the verse that admonishes us to “pray without ceasing,” in a constant attitude of communication with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
With God’s Word, we know that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) and that it is supposed to be the “lamp to my feet and the light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
So what are some ways we can actually go about applying these verses to our lives? What are some practical steps we can take to seek God more diligently?
Well, we decided to ask you folks! We took to social media and asked you what you do to stay focused, and we got some wonderful answers!
Sue said, “Sometimes I just close my eyes and pretend Jesus is sitting next to me on the couch or bed and I’m just talking to him like I would anyone else sitting there. He never really has a form or a face, it’s like He’s in my peripheral vision. It feels as if I’m talking to my best friend, and I am.”
I loved that reminder that God is more than some distant Being. Because of Jesus, God is our friend who wants to hear from us, and remembering that God is right there with us makes prayer feel like we really are talking to that perfect Friend.
Meagan said, “I am a very visual person, so sometimes I journal my praying to help me keep focused, or write down what I want to pray about before I start.”
This is a great idea! Having something visual to follow can really keep you on track, and journaling can make prayer much more concrete!
Sara said, “I really struggle talking to someone that I can’t see but I often pray as I commute because there isn’t much to distract me in the car when I drive to work.”
Finding a time and a place in which you can truly focus without distractions is key. A commute is a really great idea, something I should start doing. Finding a place outside or going in to your room and shutting the door might also be good places. Whatever keeps you distraction free!
Meagan said, “When reading my Bible, I outline the passage on a separate piece of paper, which helps me with understanding the meaning, too. And I take notes during sermons. 🙂 So I usually write something, which adds to the visual/kinesthetic aspects of my studying.”
The power of writing things down to help with focus is amazing. I love the idea of outlining the passage, and using the notes to help with understanding as well as focus. If you don’t understand what you read, it isn’t much better than if you weren’t focused.
Sara said, “As far as devotions if I have a systematic plan such as reading a particular Bible portion or book I can usually stay focused.”
Having a plan and a goal and a reason for reading can really help with focus. If you are looking for truth about a particular topic or if you want to read the whole Bible so as to understand the big picture or if you are reading along with a devotional book, it is much easier to keep reading and to focus on what you read.
Another idea, from Benjamin, is that we should ask God for help with focus, whether reading the Bible or praying. God can help us with self-control, including control of thoughts, and Benjamin says he is just constantly asking God while he reads or prays for help in keeping his mind on track or for help to pull it back when it strays.
Thank you so much for all of your ideas! I know this has helped me immensely and we hope it helped you too. If you have any more ideas, we would love to see them in the comments!