Prayer is hard. It doesn’t come natural and it is challenging with all the distractions that we have in the world. Even if we were to get rid of things like television, smart phones, social media, etc., there is another challenge that remains— mind clutter. Mind clutter is the reality that our minds are so inundated with noise that it makes it challenging to focus or even talk to God.
Timothy Keller gives us this warning about ignoring the exercise of cultivating a private prayer life:
“If we give priority to the outer life, our inner life will be dark and scary. We will not know what to do with solitude. We will be deeply uncomfortable with self-examination, and we will have an increasingly short attention span for any kind of reflection. Even more seriously, our lives will lack integrity. Outwardly, we will need to project confidence, spiritual and emotional health and wholeness, while inwardly we may be filled with self-doubts, anxieties, self-pity, and old grudges. Yet we won’t know how to go into the inner rooms of the heart, see clearly what is there, and deal with it. In short, unless we put a priority on the inner life, we turn ourselves into hypocrites (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, Kindle Edition, p. 22).
Keller doesn’t advocate mind centering or transcendental meditation but he does advocate an intentional process to clearing out clutter. By doing so you discover who you are when no one is around or prompting you to perform. “To discover the real you, look at what you spend time thinking about when no one is looking, when nothing is forcing you to think about anything in particular” (ibid, p 23).
As we begin our Prayer sermon series we will not only be examining our need for prayer but much more the desire for prayer. Ask yourself:
“How often do I pray?” “Is prayer hard?” “Is it hard because of all the distractions?” “Have I given God permission to eliminate these distractions?”
May the Lord bless you as we start down this journey of discovery through prayer!
– Pastor Geraldo