In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8: 26, 27)
A fellow blogger wrote recently about things to do during the seemingly imminent second lockdown. He suggested that one of them might be, “write silly blog posts.” Indeed, as we get into that “quarantine” state of mind, those may be the only ones we’re capable of writing.
If you’re like me and have a touch of ADD, the struggle to stay focused and coherent may be a lot more common than the occasional lockdown.
So, for those of us that need a little comic relief, here’s my “stream-of-consciousness” meditation on the important topic of prayer:
Prayer and the ADD Mind
Aren’t you glad God loves everybody, even people with ADD? I was actually relieved when I found out there was such a thing as adult ADD. I remember thinking, “Well, that sure explains a lot…” before my mind was off and running to another subject.
ADD stands for “Attention Deficit…” Have you seen the movie “Up”? Remember the dog in that movie that obviously had ADD? He’d be running along with the others, right on board, and suddenly, – “SQUIRREL!” and he’d be gone. Wasn’t he cute? So was that little fish in “Finding Nemo,” who definitely had a problem with short-term memory. What was her name? I forgot …
When you actually do have these personality traits, it’s not always cute or funny. When it comes to prayer, it can be a real guilt trip. I hear about these people who can pray for six hours straight. These super-saints get up around 4 AM, and they not only pray, they fast and pray … I’m pretty sure that means no coffee. How do they do that? I’m lucky if I can go from one end of the house to the other and have any recollection what I came for.
When I talk to someone I don’t know very well, I can usually stick to a logical sequence of questions and information, but with certain friends, one thing will remind me of something else, which will remind me of something else, and by the time it’s my turn to say something, I seem to be totally changing the subject. I have one or two friends who won’t even flinch when I do that. We’ll just keep on the same train of thought going full speed down the track while our husbands look at each other with eyes glazed over, obviously still at the station. They say men’s and women’s minds work completely differently, but I digress. (So what else is new?)
Back to prayer … I know it’s crucial. What’s a relationship without communication? And what relationship is more important than a relationship with God?
For some reason, when I’m talking to God, my mind is even more random. Even my best girlfriend probably couldn’t follow my train of thought sometimes when I’m praying for someone and suddenly I’m asking God questions like “How come the prodigal son’s older brother wasn’t invited to the party? They just left him out in the field working! And then we criticize him for having a bad attitude! I’d have an attitude problem, too, if my younger brother had been missing for years and finally came back and nobody even told me there was a party going on!”
Have you ever tried to be really organized in your prayer time? Have you ever had everything written down in a nice, neat list that you can check off one at a time after you’ve prayed for each item? I have those lists, and I really should date them, because they are all over the house, and when I come across one marked “URGENT!” it’d be nice to know if that’s a request from yesterday’s Bible study or last year’s Christmas get-together. Putting things on computer is supposed to cut down on paper, but I’m always thinking, “What if the computer crashes?” so I make hard copies of everything, and then forget where I’ve filed them, or that they even exist.
Oh yeah, prayer … I sometimes wonder if my apparent ADD (I have to say “apparent,” otherwise I’m making a negative confession, and that drives certain Christians crazy and makes them think I’m guilty of negative thinking, and I’ve got enough to feel guilty about, thank you.) … I sometimes wonder if my apparent ADD is a tool of the devil to keep me from praying, so any time I hear about a new gimmick – a new method of prayer that comes on the scene – I grab hold of it and try it to see if it’ll help me get my devotional act together.
Come before his presence with singing! (Psalm 100: 2a, RSV) OK, I should sing first. So I get out my guitar and start praising God, but once I get started, I could sing to Him for hours, so there were days I never got around to the prayer and Bible reading, and I’ve got two more reasons to feel guilty …
“You need to thank God before you ask Him for anything new. Otherwise, you’re being ungrateful!“ OK, I don’t want to be ungrateful, but I’m one of the most blessed people in the world, so that could take days, too. Besides, once I start thanking Him for my children and grandchildren, I always think of a reason I should call one of them … next thing you know, I’m on the phone, and I’m not talking to God…*
(Am I the only one who has these problems?)
Prayer: Lord, thank You for understanding our groans when we can’t put our longings into words. Thank You that we can trust You to meet our needs, even when we don’t know what they are. Thank You for loving us, even when we are hard to love. (Thank You for GRACE.) In Jesus’ name, amen.
*[Excerpted from my book BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?) ]