Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with somebody who just wasn’t into the conversation?
Perhaps you are pouring out your heart about something and the other person just isn’t listening. Instead they might be glued to the television, texting on a smartphone, reading the paper or just twiddling their thumbs. When this happens you have to wonder if you are wasting your breath.
What if the distracted person isn’t the one who is on the listening end? What if they are the one talking. They start communicating something and before the first complete sentence, they are distracted by something else. They try again, but again find a distraction. How long are going to try and be an attentive listener?
We are probably more like this distracted talker in our prayer life than we care to admit. We find that talking to God gets interrupted by the proverbial squirrel.
Jesus warns us against praying for the benefit of being seen by others.
A by-product of following Jesus’ instructions is that we find ourselves in a place void of external distractions. We will still have to battle the mental distractions. Eliminating the physical distractions might just help us to avoid the mental ones.
Previous generations referred to a prayer closet. Now I am not suggesting not to pray when you are surrounded by God’s creation, but train yourself to pray without all of the distractions.
Having purged ourself of distractions and developing a laser focus on God, we can then pray with all of our being.
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
(James 5:16-18 ESV, emphasis mine)
Elijah is a model to us of praying fervently. Your whole being is wrapped up in praying. Prayer is welling up from deep within us. Our hearts yearn to communicate with our Father. Our mind is diligently centered on him. Our lips utter cries of devotion. Our bodies rise and fall in unison with the workings of our soul.
When was the last time you prayed in this manner? Block out everything else and get alone with God. Pray with great fervency. We are told there is great power in this kind of praying.