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Posts Tagged ‘focus’

My distractibility and butterfly mind can be a creative strength. What they are not, however, is an aid to focussed prayer.

Reading my bible and devotional material is one thing, but a concentrated session of prayer often seems too much to tackle. It has recently, at least.

Do the Next Thing Prayer

A prayer meeting is fine, getting together with my prayer partner is great, but me, praying on my own, that’s too big. So in this year of Doing the Next Thing, I need to learn to commit to doing prayer as the Next Thing.

And so last week I was prompted to return to the best aid I’ve found for reducing distraction in prayer – the most excellent PrayerMate App (also available for Apple products). I have my PrayerMate sorted out so that I start with reading things – a psalm, the Lord’s Prayer, the Church of England Collect for the day. Then I pray for family, friends and further afield. I’d forgotten I’d set my prayers up like that, it had been so long. It wasn’t as scary as I remembered, nor as difficult to do.

I was gently eased into prayer, and I was reminded of the Puritan injunction to ‘pray until you pray‘, which I first read about in Don Carson’s terrific book, A Call to Spiritual Reformation. I’ve found this to be wise advice. Prayer takes work and it takes time to find the focus required. So beginning my prayer time using written prayers I don’t have to think about too much helps me to start praying. And once I start praying, finding my own words to keep praying seems easier.

PrayerMate got a shiny new update just a few days ago, making it even better to use and prettier to look at. One of the lovely teenagers from my dorm at our summer holiday venture bounced up to me on Saturday to tell me that she’d downloaded the app. And she’d even used it a bit too. So if a distracted 13 year old can use it, so can I. And maybe you too? Do the Next Thing – Do It with Prayer.

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Happy New Year!

I am not great at New Year’s resolutions – holidays are such a terrible time for making me unrealistic about my capacity to be Wonder Woman. But over the last few days I have done some reflecting on 2015, and thinking and praying about the year ahead. And actually, I’ve been mulling this over for a while and am hoping that this blogpost will help make my plan more concrete and that this year I will learn to focus better on working one task at a time (and not procrastinating). I found myself very distracted in 2015 [edited to not be a time traveller] and, as a result, not accomplishing what I wanted to. And even more than usual. (Sorry about the complete lack of Christmas cards everyone…).

So this year I am planning to Do The Next Thing, with prayer, trusting God for the results.

Do the next thing visual

I came across this poem more than a year ago on a poster sold by 52home, and I think it sums up the attitude I want to cultivate. The poster on 52Home says that the author of the poem is anonymous but further research (a bit of googling, let’s be honest) turned up the original author. It’s not Elisabeth Elliot, who quoted it and is cited as the author by some online. The poem is actually a verse of a somewhat sentimental longer original which has rather ‘ye olde worlde’ spelling. It is quoted in a book called Ye Nexte Thynge by Eleanor Amerman Sutphen. The book was published in the US in 1897, and the poem was written by Mrs George A Paull – actually Minnie E Paull (nee Kenney), an author of ‘serial stories’. Minnie was a musician and minister’s wife as well as a writer, and some of her biography is available online.

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Back into a crazy summer term already. This great kinetic typography clip from Out The Box reminds me about how I can keep on the right track when the doorbell and phone are ringing and I’m trying to get the kids out to swimming…

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