An important discipline in personal prayer is the discipline of mind. You must learn how to relax without your mind shifting into neutral. Perhaps concentrating on a written prayer list will help with this discipline. Personal prayer includes listening as well as speaking to God. Therefore, your must discipline yourself to listen. The Evangelical Missions Quarterly reported that out of 257 missionaries surveyed, sixty-six percent cited “mind wandering” during prayer as a frequent occurrence. Only one said it never happened to him. You and I must discipline our mind to concentrate on prayer in the private place at the private time.
W. E. Sangster says: “Let no beginner in prayer abandon the privilege because of mind wandering. It can be conquered. A brisk, live imagination and a resolute will cannot be denied. Even though, in the early stages, the precious minutes tick away and all the time seems spent in bringing the mind back from its wanderings and fixing it again on prayer, they are not moments lost. Such discipline will exercise the muscles of the will, and the day will dawn when the sweetest meditation and the most earnest prayer will be possible even amid distraction.”
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 25, Disciplines of Personal Prayer by Dan R. Crawford).
Gracious Father, in the busyness of my life, it is hard to keep my mind from wandering when I pray. Draw me close! Keep my mind fixed upon You and my ears attentive to Your voice. Help me to be patient with myself and to persevere until I am able to discipline my will to stay completely within Your own!
Give praise to God as the Comforter, who feels deeply for those who have been mistreated and abandoned (Isa. 49:13). Thank him for calling many believers into compassionate ministries for the sake of those who are suffering. Confess those times when you may have withheld comfort from others who needed it. Commit yourself to receiving God’s encouragement and grace each morning and allowing that to flow through you to others. Ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his love, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).
Pray for those in your church’s neighborhood who have no family or friends to turn to. Ask that God will touch their lives through your calls, visits, and expressions of concern.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.