Prayerful Living

Gary Henry

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

DO WE HAVE DIFFICULTY KEEPING OUR MINDS PEACEFULLY FOCUSED ON GOD WHILE WE ARE PRAYING? If so, a part of the reason may be that we have not cultivated the habit of thinking about God throughout the day. Minds that do not normally think of God at other times will find it hard to stay focused on Him during occasional periods of prayer. Thus it will help us when we are praying to be people who are accustomed to “living prayerfully.”

There is such a thing as a prayerful state of mind even when we’re not actually praying. We can think about God as we fulfill the routine of our daily activities. We can be mindful of Him in a general sort of way. Historically, those who have tried to take the spiritual life seriously have always reported that they found it beneficial to live consciously in the “presence” of God, being aware of His reality at each moment. Doing this is hard at first, simply because our minds are undisciplined. They are used to wandering wherever they wish: here, there, and everywhere. But with serious intent and with the discipline that is acquired in living the spiritual life, we can learn to live in a constant state of mindfulness about God. He can become our preoccupation.

When we’re not specifically thinking about God, we can at least be thinking about the higher and better things in the world that He has made. Paul wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). To think on these things is to bring ourselves closer to God and to make our minds more inclined to the act of prayer.

God is pleased with those who seek Him diligently. And seeking Him surely means that, amid the welter of our worldly concerns, our minds will always be seeking Him out.