by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever seen a person with business idea that they think will be a success and make millions? One day my son Peter calls me with his latest and greatest idea. He gets so excited when he comes up with a clever idea, that every thought in his head is fixated on it. He can think about nothing else! I can relate because he gets that from me!
Have you watched a person that’s fallen in love? I remember when each of my children met their future spouse and experienced that moment. It seemed as though that was all they could think about. It was like they had forgotten about anything else in life. (And it was the same for me when I met Renee!)
I remember when my children were toddlers and they would get fixated on a toy they wanted for their birthday or Christmas. It was all they would think about!
When something exciting gets our attention, it’s easy for most of our thoughts to be drawn there. This is also true on the negative side. If you are experiencing something negative such as sickness or disease in your body, a relational schism or breakup or divorce, a job layoff, or some kind of personal tragedy or calamity, it’s easy to let your thought-life become fixated upon it and consume you.
Then there is just the plain old business of being busy; busy at work, busy at home, and busy at seemingly everything. Busy without any light at the end of the tunnel. Your thoughts may not be consumed with just one area but with many. At times like this, praying can feel like trying to find God with a flashlight in thick fog. If your thoughts are consumed with negative issues or your feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to breakaway from those thoughts in prayer. They can be a total distraction or even a wall that seems to make prayer impossible. It can be hard to focus on anything before the Lord. It’s at times like this that clear thinking and heart-felt prayers of faith are most desperately needed yet can feel difficult to come by.
Whenever I’ve come before the Lord at times feeling like this, it’s felt like I was running in place or reading the same paragraph in a book over and over again. When that happened, the Lord showed me what to do. I would go back to the Psalms and read about God’s awesomeness—about His love toward us as His children, and about all the proclamations of the great things God has done and is willing to do for those that love Him. I would just read slowly and out loud if possible. I would take in every word of those promises and say out loud, He is talking to me—the Lord inspired David to speak these words for me to hear right now! I would then turn those words into prayers of thanks and declarations proclaiming what David was saying about God over himself, and say them over myself. I would do that because that is exactly what God intended to happen. Those words were written to bring hope, comfort, and promise, not just to David, but to all who would believe for all generations!
We see another example of this in 1 John 5:13 (NLT) saying, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW you have eternal life.” These words written by John were written to move someone in their heart from a place of hope to a place of knowing. Knowing is what changes hope to faith. You don’t hope your name, you know it! You don’t hope your age, you know it! You don’t hope your address, you know it. Knowing is knowing. That is what God’s promises were written for—to bring us to a place of knowing and faith. They are words that are powerful—words that cut through negative circumstances and lift our mind and heart back on the Lord instead of being consumed in a confused maze of thoughts that would take us everywhere but the right place.
The practice of meditating, praying, and declaring God’s promises over myself transforms my mind from a feeling lost and anxious, to peaceful! It’s a supernatural time because cares melt like ice on a hot day. I begin to remember His greatness and love toward me. I am reminded of the great things He has done for me. Along with the psalmist, I begin to praise Him for all His mighty works, love, and acts of kindness. It’s at that time that something greater begins to consume my thoughts and Colossians 3:2-3 (TLB) becomes my new reality. “Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here. You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in Heaven with Christ and God.” It’s then and only then that I can pray in faith and with intimacy to the One who cares and loves me and the only One who can truly help me! It’s then I have my peaceful mind!
Philippians 4:7 (NLT) “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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