Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Argh, Concentrate!

Do you ever find it hard to concentrate? If you said yes, I sympathise with you, if you said no, you're a liar.

So I think that we all have this problem: you sit down at your desk (table, book, computer, sandwich) and immediately begin thinking about the thing most remote from the subject matter you're supposed to be focusing on. You begin to type up a report and then you have to look something up on Wikipedia. You look that up and a link within the article piques your interest and you click on it. Half an hour later you are giggling at the horrendous dress Ms. Whatsername wore to the Oscars. Admit it, we all do it.

This also applies to prayer time. You sit down with your Bible and intend with all your heart and soul to pray, and then *whammo*, you begin to think about what you are going to do for dinner. I found this portion of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest very interesting, as I identify so fully:

"Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking."

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says: "When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Many people remember the part about the secret place, but there's another part, "shut your door." It's so hard to do that, isn't it? If ind that we can't just let out minds 'wander' into prayer, we have to deliberately slam the door on our emotions and worries. As Oswald says, "We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer."

But this isn't meditation, blocking out everything to heighten awareness. We are blocking out our own minds but filling up with God's. By putting ourselves aside and steadfastly remembering Him in prayer, even if only for a few moments, "every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God."

This doesn't only go for prayer, though. We can apply it anywhere. I believe that it is all-too-common for someone to say, "I can't concentrate," when in reality it is an effort of the will. I'm not talking about medical problems that make it truly impossible to concentrate, I'm talking about the simple fact that most people, if they work at it, can concentrate rather well. If you simply stare at your book and wait for the words to jump to your eyes, it's not going to happen. However, by disciplining our minds we can concentrate, but our reading skills into action, and understand the book. Yes, all things are possible with God, even focusing when the author starts rambling about cell walls.

So, that's a little something to get you started on your school day. I hope that you gals are enjoying this, and please give me advice, posting suggestions, and ideas in the comments sections, I would appreciate it!

Abby Rogers

If you want the full text of
that UFHH devotion, here's
the link -

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