Prayers and the ADD Mind

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 …

Anyway …

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?) ]

47 thoughts on “Prayers and the ADD Mind

  1. This made me smile, Annie.
    St. Augustine said: he, (or she, or they) who sings, prays twice.

    It sounds like you are skilled in divergent and creative thinking skills, and that you have the gift of humour as well. Humour is linked with high intelligence. πŸ€—βš˜πŸŒΌ

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Did you write this post, or did I? I have apparent ADD, apparent OCD, apparent PTSD. An apparent alphabet soup of apparent disorders.

    I have been told that I should stop writing about PTSD on my blog, because saying that my husband and I have both been diagnosed with PTSD is a negative confession. Too bad my blog is called A Blog About Healing from PTSD.

    But I digress.

    This post is an excerpt from your book, Barriers? I bought Barriers several months ago but haven’t read it yet because… SQUIRREL!!

    Here in eastern New Mexico, we don’t have tree squirrels. We have prairie dogs, which are considered a ground squirrel. Which I did not know until a fellow blogger pointed that out to me, after I had commented that we do not have squirrels. Still, when I see a prairie dog, I don’t think SQUIRREL! I think FLEAS! and HOLES IN THE YARD!

    I need to find your book, Barriers. Where did I put it? Probably in my OCD junk room. I mean, my apparent OCD priceless treasures room.

    My hubby wants to buy a storage shed so we can clean out the garage and my junk room. I don’t think that will help.

    I just ate chocolate for breakfast. A lot of chocolate. I don’t think that’s helping. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 4 people

    1. One other thought, which I have often had as my name-it-and-claim-it (a.k.a. “Blab-it-and-grab-it”) friends deny that they’re sick: How can we receive healing from God if we never admit to being sick in the first place? And as far as your title, the word “healing” by itself doesn’t make much sense… Just sayin’ …

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Big smile…
      I’m not the only one doing something like eating way too much chocolate? I’m not a coffee drinker but when I occasionally need a caffeine boost (usually when trying to finish a post that due to the ADD/OCD/PTSD events of the week, is at the last moment), I have taken a large chocolate bar with intent to eat one or two of the little preformed rectangles, snap off a piece or two, hide the rest in my freezer… my OCD brain then kicks in and for some reason the Attention Deficit is temporarily cured… and doesn’t “forget” where the chocolate is hidden (maybe because it’s better frozen), the Compulsive part of OCD then goes into high gear (probably due to the caffeine) and I lack self-control… then a flood of guilt because we (Christians) are to have self-control, right? Where did I lose my self-control… the whole large bar of chocolate is gone… my post is done… it’s 3:00 AM and my brain won’t shut off… I must get a few hours of sleep before starting the day… the day that other saints are right now GETTING UP to begin prayer time… Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me… forgive me for the lack of self-control… do what only You can do from my mess.

      Annie and Linda, thank you for sharing with authenticity and humor that provides comfort… maybe I’m not so odd [different from what is usual] after all! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, Manette,you are definitely not alone! The beauty of our faith is that Jesus took our guilt (and the enemy keeps trying to put it back). We can and should try to be the best we can for Him, but when we know we’ve slipped, He wants us to come running back to Him. ❀️

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  3. God has made each of us unique. And that means he has made some of us random!!! His relationship with us is always based on our uniqueness – different with each of us. (I imagine the people who can pray for 6 hours don’t have ADD πŸ™‚ )

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  4. This post made me laugh … with recognition! My prayers too often go like this: Our Father, who art in … wait, did I remember to turn off the oven? … Thy kingdom come, thy will … how long would it take the oven to set the house on fire if one forgets to turn it off? … our daily bread … oh dear.

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  5. Oh, yes indeedy.πŸ˜„Truly love and relate to this post as well as the delightful conversation here in the comments ! ADD is certainly part of my alphabet soup that I fidb’t recognize as much when I was younger but see growing more prominent in my life.

    In fact, I once made up a song about my alphabet soup ehen taking a walk one day. It’s to the tune of “This Old Man”. I don’t know if I will remember all the words but I will try:

    EDS (ehlers-danlos syndrome), ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and don’t forget P-T-S-D.
    Add some more ADD
    And don’t forget the OCD!

    Yay! I retained it all long enough to get it typed here!

    And oy, the “speaking bad things over yourself thing”! I encountered that one waaay to often in my old church. I even had someone tell me once I shouldn’t say I was bad at gardening! ( seriously, I have a black thumb.😳) She wanted me to instead “claim” cucumbers the size of my arm. πŸ™„ Man, those years of charismania were filled with some strange things!

    At any rate, yes, this is why my prayer life consists of an ongoing conversation with God throughout my day, filled with things as He put them in front of me.

    Thank you for giving such a smile and a sense of assurance I am not alone. Blessings.

    P.S. The cute little blue fish in Nemo is Dory. She is why I sometimes call myself or my kids “delay fish”. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they do. I did this piece as a speech for a workshop, and the two people critiquing me were a woman who couldn’t stop laughing, and a man who looked at me with knitted brow and took notes the whole time. When I was finished, he asked, “Was all that really your train of thought, or did you make it up?” I said it was really my train of thought – although I’ve never been officially diagnosed with adult ADD… to which he responded with certainty, “Oh YOU HAVE IT.” (*eye roll*)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Greetings!
    Thank you for writing this, because I can attest to this, however I have suffered from ADHD, I suffered much sexual, physical, mental and emotional trauma’s through my mother, and other adults, and being in the Lord for the past 43 years, I have had so many depressions, and deep trauma’s of faith, and unbelief, despair, and sometimes mental and emotional breakdowns through the decades. However, step by step, and grace to grace the Lord has brought about deep healing, and deliverance’s, especially those of “emotional feelings” that the Lord was not near, nor loving me. But that was to reveal to me, that living on an emotional level of trusting in the Lord was NOT living by faith. So, He, step by step brought me through those terrible times of darkness not to trust in my feelings, but it is by living in His Faith towards Him and our Heavenly Father. What a revelation that was to understand that, however HE brought me to that place of understanding, because HE is FAITHFUL to His promises towards US! It’s not about how faithful we are to Him, because in many unthinkable ways, we are not, but it is all about HIS faithfulness to us!
    HE has caused me to be more focused, because HE DID THE Work through the Power of His Holy Spirit, when HE DEEMED it time for me to see and believe and changed my heart and soul, HE causes me to be faithful.
    Now due to being very hyper, which is a direct influence due to my highly hyper state of emotional and sexual abuses suffered as a toddler and child, this caused me to be “mentally” charged through traumatic stress levels. which I did not know how to deal with, a child has no mental capabilities to deal with such atrocities done against them, so it does affect them in adulthood, and yes even while being a born-again follower of the Lord. He has taken so many decades to assist in my healing and is the only one who is to be Glorified for what HE has done for me, and my good, and for His Glory in being a true lover of the soul of a believer!
    I agree with you and have come to finally accept that He loves me, and knows all about my short comings, failures, and my many, many weaknesses, but HE works through them and it is His strength and Grace and mercy, that allows me to be what He desires me to be, through those weaknesses. However, He only reveals this and has mercy upon HIS true Children.
    Now regarding the “Prodigal son”, the brother was in the fields and did not know what was going on, but did “hear” music and celebrations so he checked it out, when he found it was all for his brother’s return he: Luk 15:26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
    Luk 15:27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
    Luk 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
    So due to his self-righteousness, he would not participate in those celebrations. So it does not state he was NOT invited, that is taking the word out of context, we need be to careful not to add to the word, because I’ve learned it gives us a wrong impression!
    So anyway, I’ve gone on to much, but I just wanted to share that the Lord knows all about us and our sin’s, our disbelief’s, lack of faith, guilt for not being perfect, His blood is there to cover it all up, and will work a very good and excellent work within us according to His Will and timing, that is why we need to “wait and trust” Him for the outworking!
    Praise His Glorious Name, and Hid perfect works!
    The Lord bless you abundantly for sharing your struggles!
    Love in Christ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AMEN! A huge part of my healing from an eating disorder was learning to believe and act on what I KNEW from God’s Word, not on what I felt. So since I John 1:9 says if I confess my sin, I’m forgiven, then I’M FORGIVEN. It doesn’t matter if I still feel guilty, I will thank God for His mercy, and eventually the false feelings will go away, or I will just override them.
      Something I pray every morning – out loud, so I hear myself say it – is:
      “Thank You, Lord, for feelings that confirm the Truth. But I also thank You that Your Truth stands alone and doesn’t need any confirmation, from me or anyone else. Thank You for emotions that motivate me to serve You, but I thank You that I can choose to serve You whether I feel like it or not. Thank You that no matter what my emotions say, or how loudly they’re screaming at me, they don’t get to define me. They don’t get to dictate what I say, do, focus on, believe, or choose. Lord, Jesus, I choose YOU …”
      As for the Prodigal Son’s brother, I’m very familiar with the story. I just wonder sometimes why in all the excitement no one thought of going out to the field – or sending a servant out – to tell him his brother was home. Did they not think he’d be interested? Or did they not think about him at all? Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference, because self-righteousness can be very deep-seated. But having been left out of an event that would have been important to me, I think I can understand his feelings, at least in part. (I know it kind of sounds like I believe this was a true story – I’m not at all sure it wasn’t.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Prey! πŸ˜‰
      I happen to be a bit OCD, too, so once I’ve committed to praying for something on a daily basis, I do it, I do NOT give up. I may not get to bed until midnight or 1:00, but I’m still holding out hope that this will motivate me to focus. (Of course, the sleepier I am … :/ )

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  7. I like to “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17) here and there throughout the day, but even so, I have a hard time focusing as my mind is running to other things–even in the way you mentioned regarding the example of wondering about the prodigal son’s older brother! Thankfully, the Lord is always there to listen–even when we’re not focused and so easily distracted.

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