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How to Overcome distractions in Prayer

Praying to God can be a challenge. Even when you have set up the perfect time and place, distractions can suddenly rush in and ruin your focus, your plan, and your attention to God. It is one of the enemy’s tactics to discourage a believer from praying to God, hearing His voice, and communing with His Spirit. The moment the enemy succeeds in distracting you, the goal is to get you to decide to put off praying for another time. So, how do you overcome distractions in prayer? Decide not to be distracted. When things come up during your prayer time with God, you make the decision to say “no” to them and continue praying and communing with God. It takes a firm decision to focus on your prayer with God and win over distractions.

Moreover, getting distracted easily during prayer time only reveals the state of your relationship with God. It’s not really about praying the prayer but concerns wanting to commune and fellowship with the One you are praying to. Can you imagine going on a date with someone who is distracted by many things? You won’t get to enjoy that date, right? It shows that your date might not be interested in you after all. This can be the same in our praying. Sometimes, we are distracted by other things because our hearts are not interested in talking to God. Other times, we are more interested in other things than spending time with God, and that’s why there are distractions.

The root cause of distraction in prayer might be one’s poor knowledge and understanding of Who God is. You cannot build a deep relationship with someone you don’t really know and don’t really understand. However, if you truly get to know that Jesus Christ was the only One Who would offer His life for your sake – that the Heavenly Father gave away His only Begotten Son to reach out to you, lavish His love on you, and get you back to His arms – you wouldn’t choose to spend your time on something that doesn’t even care about you. If you truly understand what the Father did just to take you home in His presence, and you understand how much sacrifice God has made for a soul like you, distractions would have no place in your prayer time with this awesome Being.  

Rather than eliminating the distractions in your prayer time with God, why not get to know Him more? Listen to preachings and teachings that take you to the love of the Father—the knowledge of the cross, the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, Who does fantastic work in your soul. When you equip and train yourself to hunger for more heavenly things and the Word of God, prayer will become a natural lifestyle for you. And you will not be bothered by distractions anymore because you are so busy enjoying time with the One Who loves you and cares about you most.

Here is a short prayer for overcoming distractions in prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You, for I have the mind of Christ. You pour out to me revelations of Who You are and draw me closer and closer to You through Christ Jesus. Every time You reveal Your heart to me, I long for more of Your presence. Nothing can distract me from You because You alone can satisfy my hunger in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Is it okay to be distracted during prayer?

While it isn’t good to be distracted during prayer, God doesn’t punish people or keep a record of how often this happens. It can be challenging to focus on your prayer when you have so many things inside your mind and think about the many other things that need to be done. God sees it all, including what’s going on inside your head. He is a good Father Who is full of compassion and understanding. He knows when you are tired, weary, anxious, and distracted by other thoughts as you pray to Him. Why don’t you tell Him instead what’s distracting you? Is it someone or something you are worried about? Is it a movie you recently watched that keeps playing on your mind? Why don’t you share it with Him and tell Him your thoughts about that movie?

To have a relationship with God is the best connection you could ever have. When you enjoy your relationship with Him, distractions can be an opportunity to communicate even more with Him. He loves to hear what’s bothering you, what’s distracting you, what’s making you anxious, and so on. Is it the noise outside you are bothered by? Tell it to God prayer. He is most understanding and most trustworthy; you can speak to Him and He won’t scold you for talking about nonsense things or reject you for not being spiritual enough. He is an amazing Father Who loves fellowship, authenticity, and integrity. Just be honest with God and see your distractions become a way to develop a deeper communion with Him as a Friend, a Father, a Brother, and Someone who can understand and relate with you. 

When you have this kind of bond with God, prayer will become your favorite thing to do. Distractions are pointless because you just can’t keep your eyes off the One Who is so kind, compassionate, gentle, loving, fun, and good at listening to you and exchanging His thoughts with yours. Imagine going on a date, when you are just so focused on listening and talking to the one that’s in front of you. Or think about setting up an adventure trip with your best pals. You don’t get distracted when you are with them because you don’t want to miss any of the fun by thinking about other things. It’s the same thing in our relationship with God. When it’s time for you to pray or talk to Him, your full attention is on talking to Him and letting Him talk to you in return. Prayer is communicating with the Best Person that ever existed, and distractions are not worth paying attention to. 

How can I concentrate more on prayer?

Rather than concentrating more on your acts of prayer, why not develop your communication and relationship with God first, as mentioned earlier? The more you just focus – on getting to know God, seeking after the things of God, getting involved in fellowship with passionate believers, and attending seminars that equip you with the knowledge of Christ – the more you’ll realize that praying is what you love to do. When you love to do something, you won’t get distracted by anything no matter what it is. And God is always involved in your life, even in the things you never talk about to anyone but Him. 

When you have a deep relationship and intimacy with God, you won’t have trouble concentrating on your prayer time anymore because you are talking to the One Who loves you and cares about you most. Prayer no longer becomes a responsibility, a burden, or some daily routine you need to accomplish; instead, you enjoy praying because of the One you are praying to. It’s like spending your time with your favorite person on earth. 

To summarize the ideas written, here are several practical tips for overcoming distractions in your prayer time with God:

  1. Spend more time getting to know God and understanding His love, goodness, kindness, principles, and ways. Do this through becoming familiar with God’s Word and listening to anointed preachers.
  2. Develop a deeper relationship with God rather than worrying about not getting distracted during prayer. When you have a deep connection with God, even these distractions can be lifted as prayers unto Him.
  3. Decide to just not be distracted. You have a choice in this, and the more you know God, the more you will choose Him and be interested in Him than in any distractions.
  4. Find the right place and time. You don’t go on a date where you can’t hear one another, right? You’ll choose a place and a time where you both can focus and give attention to each other on your date. It’s the same thing during your prayer time with God.
  5. Love God back and fall deeply in love with Who He is. When you’re in love, you just can’t get the person out of your mind. How much more certain this is when you fall in love with God, Who is unlike any other on this earth—He’s the best.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4