When I lack the desire to pray or read the Bible there’s a problem. My mind turns into a thick fog, unable to hold firm to the truth I profess. My spirit becomes dry so I fill cracked cisterns with other things – distractions.
Studies show that the average adult attention span is less than a goldfish, eight seconds. The rest of modern society and I whip out our electronic devices jumping from one thing to the next. I am restless and unable to focus.
There is something unique in the current era that generations before us did not fight against. We now have the ability to be in constant communication, literally at our fingertips, with every form of entertainment seeping through our lives. There is no room for quiet, so we slowly distract ourselves to death.
I don’t want to paint a broad picture that all of modern technology is evil and we should just retreat like monks. What I am saying is that I think my lack of desire to be still before the Lord has a lot to do with the bombardment of ways to get my focus off of God and onto lesser things. Sometimes these dry spiritual seasons echo the state of my heart. Sometimes God uses these lessons to teach me something about Him, that only He can quench my thirst.
There needs to be a wake-up call in the heart of believers who fall into this trap like me. I noted eight helpful ways to stir our spirit toward God again:
- Moderation, narrow your search, turn it off.
Eliminate digital clutter by being intentional with how much time you decide to spend online. Stick to it. Time is a precious gift and it would be a shame if you realize at the end of your life how much of it was wasted on social media, Internet surfing, or a Netflix binge.
Beyond that, try unsubscribing to a few email lists you’re on, limit the number of articles or blogs you read. There are a billion zillion things to find online and there just isn’t enough time in the day to take in everything. Be choosy.
When you set time aside to study the Bible, turn off your phone and the T.V. or whatever else might be a temptation for you. These devices are tools meant to serve us, not the other way around. We are losing our ability to be comfortable in silence. Exercising personal discipline in pursuit of our rich God is priceless, I promise you.
- Read the Psalms.
Read it aloud even. Speak the words back to God like David did, crying out to Him. Highlight verses that the Holy Spirit teaches you. Meditate on it.
- Seek God in each page of the Bible.
As you read the Bible, look for specific attributes of God. Where is He and what characteristics do you see? Is He Faithful? Creator? Lawgiver? Redeemer? Shepherd? Teacher? Remember that the Bible is first and foremost a book about God, not us, so find Him in each page you read.
Ask God to help you see clearly again spiritual truth. He is faithful and hears the prayers of His own. Ask for prayer from another believer – a trusted friend or someone else mature in his or her faith.
Memorizing a Bible verse to carry with you throughout the week might be the one thing that sustains you. Repeat it frequently and let God use that truth to work in your mind.
- Work it out.
Taking a walk outside or some form of exercise is a great way to clear my head. I can take that time to walk in prayer, or just slow down long enough to notice God’s beauty around me.
- Worship through music.
When I can’t even find the words to pray, worship music speaks for me. I punch in Chris Tomlin’s station on Pandora and my spirit is lifted once again. The melody soothes my soul and the lyrics remind me to worship the Living God.
- Write out your blessings, big and small.
Developing a grateful heart naturally leads to praising the God of grace, the Perfect Giver. You’ll be surprised at how blessed you really are.
Then wait for God to move. We can’t force the rhythms of grace. We ask, we seek, and then we wait. Even when the tumbleweeds blow in the desert of your soul, hold on to what you know to be true. God is keeping His Beloved. Sometimes we wander away and the Lord uses those seasons to grow us up in maturity. I usually learn the hard way. However the Lord of all decides to work in our fellowship with Him it is always for our good and His Glory.
Grace upon grace,