Does your mind wander during prayer?

(Re-posted from Jared Wilson’s excellent blog. It’s a a slightly edited excerpt from the session called “Intentional Prayer” in his book Abide: Practicing Kingdom Rhythms in a Consumer Culture.)
“Our obsessive drive to control our minds in the presence of God, that is, to pray about one thing or stick to one list, may be a form of hiding from God.”
— David Hansen, Long, Wandering Prayer

The great thing about our God is that he takes us as we are but does not leave us as he finds us. This means that a wandering mind (and even body) is okay in prayer. If you are engaged in the practice of intentional prayer in solitude and quiet, God who is outside of time is not offended if it takes you time to get everything expressed or you have to wander around your house or neighborhood or park to clear yourself of noise.

There is nothing magical about staying in one place or staying on one track mentally. You may begin with many words and slowly run out, but if you are drawing close to God, stay there and think. Let your mind wander and then find its way back to prayer. There is no such thing as perfect prayer. Jesus is perfect and he bears the burden of perfection in prayer for you. Walk around. Sing. Read. Intersperse prayer with devotional reading or Bible study. Talk to yourself a bit. Work out the kinks. It’s okay. God can handle “messy.” The effort of wandering prayer is dirt enough for God to breathe life into.

“Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”
— Paul Miller, A Praying Life


3 Responses to Does your mind wander during prayer?

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ric Deyarmond, David Wilson. David Wilson said: Does your mind wander during prayer? […]

  2. BBP says:

    This is such a refreshing entry. I am so guilty of a wandering mind when I pray. Especially when I pray at night. Not only will my mind wander while I am talking to God, but sometimes I will even fall asleep while talking to Him.

    I always repented for this as I thought it was disrespectful.

  3. David Wilson says:

    God is so understanding, gracious and kind. He loves his children calling out to him, even though we do so imperfectly.

    Isn’t he good?

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