3 Ways to Pray with More Focus

The following devotional is from
Lord, Have Mercy by Ellen Miller, originally titled ADD Prayers .

Father, I come before you . . . Did I put the kids’ dentist appointments on the calendar? . . . Father, I come before you, praising you . . . I wonder what happened at PTA last night . . . I humbly lift . . . I can’t believe my mother said that to me . . . I humbly lift my friend Emma to you; please comfort her . . . I have to remember to pick up milk after carpool today . . . Lord, please watch over Emma. Amen.

I am ashamed to admit that this is how some of my prayers go. I am communing with God Almighty, and my mind wanders to milk. What must he think of me and my ADD prayers? If I had a conversation like this with a girlfriend, she’d hang up the phone!

Praise God he doesn’t. He stays on the line. But that doesn’t let me off the hook.

I don’t suffer from actual ADD, which is a serious condition for many people. However, when I can’t clear my mind long enough to get through a three-minute prayer with my God, I am showing him disrespect. Hmm . . . that puts a different spin on multitasking, doesn’t it? After realizing I struggle to stay focused during my prayer time, I’ve found a few things that can help us avoid ADD prayers.

Write out your prayers. 

Whether I write in longhand or type, this exercise helps me think carefully about my praises and petitions to God. Not only is writing out prayers revealing, but as you look back over them, sometimes years later, you will be blessed to see God’s provision and your own spiritual growth. You may also be humbled to see how infrequently you simply praise him. Keeping a record of your prayers can be instructional and convicting.

Pray Scripture.

At times I am not sure how to pray—either for myself or for others. This is when I turn to a Scripture that relates to the need. Frequently, I realize I should be praying Jesus’ own prayer (with my commentary in parentheses):

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (I praise you, the one, holy true God!),

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (I surrender my will to yours; you know best.),

Give us today our daily bread. (Thank you for providing me all I need.)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (I am humbled to be forgiven, and I commit to forgive others.)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Protect and strengthen me so I may avoid sin.) Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord’s Prayer is like the superstore of prayers!

Last, pray with someone.

If you’ve ever been in a crisis, you know the power of someone praying over you. During the years that Scott was missing, I couldn’t pray for entire weeks at a time. I was completely prayed out! When I shared the condition of my soul, a woman in my Bible study said, “Ellen, stop praying. Rest. I’m standing in the gap for you.” What a relief! It was a blessing unlike any other I had received. To this day, when I sense a sister is “prayed out,” I offer to stand in the gap for her.

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering. Psalm 141:2

We are powerless without powerful prayer, so let’s get our ADD under control.


In Lord, Have Mercy , popular author Ellen Miller writes to moms who could use a good laugh (and sometimes a good cry) as they live through the trials and triumphs of parenting in the 21st century. All-too-real, always honest, and often hilarious, each devotional is filled with personal stories to remind you that God is with you in both the big and small moments of motherhood—especially when you’re on your last nerve!

Learn more about Lord, Have Mercy Help and Hope for Moms on Their Last Nerve by  Ellen Miller  on Tyndale.com Save 20% when you order the book in April 2017!