How to Pray When You’re Distracted and Overwhelmed

Categories Christian Living

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How Can We Pray When There Are So Many Distractions Surrounding Us In Everyday Life!

don’t know about you, but seasons of distraction and being overwhelmed can sometimes come on like a surprise blizzard and then linger like an Indian summer. I find myself in survival mode. Wake up, coffee, chores, kids to school, go to work, come home, more chores, enter zombie vegetative state with interjections from my family to help regain consciousness, go to bed, and repeat. So praying? What’s the point! If I can barely listen to my sweet 13 year old go on about the weird dream he had last night and what happened in history class today, how on earth can I carry on a conversation with my Lord?

So How Do You Pray When You Are Feeling Distracted And Overwhelmed?

When you’re completely distracted and overwhelmed, I have found that all you can really do is break it down to the basics. You simply need to designate a quiet place, crack open your Bible and pray along with what you read. Here is how it works:

Designate a Quiet Place – Luke 5:16

Honestly, for me, even if I’m not feeling distracted and overwhelmed, the consistency of having a designated quiet place for me to meet with the Lord is key in keeping grounded in and connected to Him so I can live my best life.

My time is when I go to bed at night. Around 10 pm every night I get up out of my recliner in the living room and head into the bedroom. I get ready for bed and lay down, grab my phone and open my youversion bible app. My church does a whole bible reading plan together every year. The reading takes about 15 minutes each day. This is also a great time to read a devotional book.

This quiet time works for me because on the weeknights my kids are already in bed and on the weekends, they’re still out watching t.v. with their dad. If I’m not ready to fall asleep after I read, then I read a book for a while or watch Forensic Files. By then, my husband and the dog have usually joined me and we’re off to slumberland.

So, that’s my quiet place but I wanted to share with you one other idea.

My friend has a certain chair in her home that her whole family (one that includes 4 kids I might add) knows that if she is sitting in it, she is talking with the Lord and they are not to interrupt her.

It’s a simple visual signal to her whole family and it’s also a place where she can mentally signal herself that she is now in her “prayer closet” or “devotional room” so to speak. What I love about this idea is that her kids see her go there so they are witnessing their mother dedicate her life to their Lord. It’s beautiful.

Crack Open Your Bible – Proverbs 3:6

I already mentioned that when I climb into bed I grab my phone to read my Bible. As soon as I open my Bible reading app to my Bible reading plan,  before I begin reading I always offer up this prayer:

“Lord, help me understand what I’m reading and apply it to my heart and my mind in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

It’s so simple yet so effective. I do this every night but the reason it’s so good if you’re distracted and overwhelmed is because it brings your focus in right down to the simple basics and invites the Holy Spirit to help you keep it there (even if only for 15 minutes) while you hear from your Lord in His word.

Pray With What You Read  – John 15:7-8

In addition to that, I read really intentionally to soak in all I can. As I’m reading, if something strikes me, I converse with the Lord…

Yes, God, that’s so good

Lord, thank you for creating that for us

Jesus, help my actions to like that of Moses, David, Esther etc…

God, please forgive me for my sin in this area.

Do you see? This. THIS is how you pray when you’re distracted and overwhelmed. Let the Bible pray for you. Pray with authority by praying a Scripture verse right back to God. Prayer is a conversation. Let God in His word guide the conversation for you. You don’t always have to be the keynote speaker when talking to God and in fact, you shouldn’t be.

Prayer does not have to be complicated.

When you’re distracted and overwhelmed the last thing you need is complicated. Make it simple. Ask God to keep you focused on Him and let Him guide the rest of the conversation. It’s really that easy. Yes, your mind may even wander during that 15 minutes of reading His word and conversing. Mine does! But then I simply come back to reality and re-read the passage I was just reading. Sometimes I end up reading it three times! Ha! But when we’re distracted and overwhelmed, that’s perfectly okay….and perhaps, perfectly necessary!

Lord, help us when we’re distracted and overwhelmed. Don’t let anxiety, depression or exhaustion take advantage of that and grip us. Give us strength and rest in you. Keep us focused on what you’re trying to accomplish in us for that day even if it’s a simple 15-minute communion with you. We know you are the only one who can satisfy and so we ask that you give us a desire for you. We know more energetic days will come. More serene days will come. Days when we actually have our wits about us will come, but in the meantime, we lean on you. Thank you, Lord, for keeping us straight in the midst of the chaos. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jen Ervig #PNW Pastor
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