Wandering mind = opportunity to pray

By Dave Henning / July 20, 2021

“Instead of seeing a wandering mind as a failure to pray as we ought, we should see this as an opportunity to pray about the deep longings of our souls. . . .  Our call is to bring this to the Lord, who meets us in the truth about ourselves as ones who need grace and mercy in these very places.”- Kyle Strobel

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts.”- Psalm 139:23 (ESV)

Kyle Strobel concludes Chapter 1 of Where Prayer Becomes Real as he notes that Herbert McCabe points to where a deeper live of prayer begins.  Because the Holy Spirit lives in our souls, we should not view a wandering mind as a undisciplined intellect’s random act.

Therefore, when we enter God’s presence in prayer, the Holy Spirit’s present to the very depths of our hearts.  In the process, Kyle observes, the truth of our hearts begins to percolate and rise to the surface.  Hence, as the Spirit awakens our longings, He grounds us in the truth of what we should be praying.  The Holy Spirit identifies the treasures of the heart.

As a result, use your wandering mind as an opportunity to be with the Lord.  Kyle counsels:

“We have to avoid trying to fix our lives or giving ourselves a pep talk on how to rightly talk with God when we pray.  This is not what prayer is, and this is not where our hope is found.  Prayers become boring and lifeless when we wrestle with ourselves in our guilt, anxiety, fear, or shame rather than bring them to God.  That’s why we stop praying!”

In conclusion, when Jesus approached the Samaritan woman at the well, she wanted to discuss social and religious outcomes.  But Jesus wanted to address the scandals in her life.  In contrast, the tax collector, unlike the Pharisee, prayed in truth.  Through his worries and fears, he entered God’s presence.  Likewise, prayer presents us with an invitation into truth.  Because truth unearths the real desires of our heart.

Today’s question: Do you see your wandering mind as an opportunity to pray about the deep longings of your heart?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The Christian life in miniature – prayer”

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Dave Henning

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