1 Corinthians 7:35 “Undivided Devotion”
The Puritan Richard Steele wrote a whole book on this one text addressing the subject of prayer. He spoke of the undivided devotion of prayer. We all agree that prayer can be a difficult spiritual discipline, but what would you say is the hardest aspect of prayer? Perhaps perseverance or maybe distractions. It has been said that if anything marks this generation it is our inability to focus. So, difficulties could be constancy, fervency but also difficulty focusing our thoughts.
If we are going to fight distracting thoughts during prayer what are some biblical principles that can help us? Richard Steele gives three ‘P’ words and I’ve added a fourth. The first is Precepts – be watchful unto prayer.” In Colossians 4:2 God gives a precept, a command that can help us fight distractions. He tells us to be watchful, focused, give attention to the Lord when we pray.
Second, the Power of Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 Prayer is one of the all things, right? Third, the Promises of God. The Scriptures promise that God will give us help when we pray, that we have the Spirit of God to aid us. So, making use of the promises is another antidote to help us avoid distracted praying. Fourth, and finally, the Presence of God – we need to remember when we pray that we are coming into the presence of God. When we talk to a person our minds might wander but they don’t know it. We look them in the eye but aren’t listening. God sees everything, however. Jesus reminds us that when we go into our prayer closets God sees. Remembering we are in the presence of a holy God is a good deterrent to distracted praying.
When we go to prayer, we need to remain focused. We can discipline our minds. Let’s remember these four ‘P’ words to focus our attention as we pray: Precepts, Power, Promises, and Presence.