On Day 1 we talked about how when we press pause in prayer it helps us to navigate the external pressures of a busy life. But what about the internal pressures of a busy mind? You know what it’s like – so many things are running through your head that you can’t seem to focus on anything. You are constantly distracted and don’t have the ability to pay attention to things for very long. Your mind keeps running an endless cycle of tasks, what ifs and self criticisms. You can’t sleep because your brain has gone into autopilot and won’t shut down.
A busy mind can also make it very difficult to pray. How can I talk to God about what’s going on my life if I can’t even organize my own thoughts? How can I find the words to pray when I can’t make sense of what’s swirling through my mind? How can I remember what to pray for when I can’t even remember why I walked from that room into this room? How can I bring order to my chaotic mind enough to talk to my heavenly Father in a way that makes sense to him and me?
After the people of Israel fled from slavery in Egypt they found themselves in a chaotic situation. The Egyptian army was in close pursuit behind them. In front they were blocked from escape by the Red Sea. In the middle of this overwhelming moment, Moses gave them some instruction that is still good for us today.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Moses did not tell the people to run or fight. He didn’t advise them to increase their level of activity. He told them to stand firm and be still.
God is attracted to stillness
When we still our minds and activity it opens up an environment where he can move and speak to us. That’s why a key element of prayer is learning to be still.
The complexity of our world is not supportive of stillness, but it is an essential practice in the prayer life of followers of Jesus. It is a discipline we must learn and practice. It is also a discipline that has the effect of calming a busy mind and bringing clarity when we need it most.
Over the next several days we are going to talk about some practices that will help us to press pause and be still in our prayer time. You will learn some practical ways to begin taking back your peace of mind as you surrender it to God. But today, let’s begin by asking God to help us understand the cause of our busy minds.
- What do I need to spend less time doing to have a peaceful mind?
- What things may I need to let go of?
- What areas of my life may need to change in order to be still before God?