Distractions              December 2016

Have you ever wondered why we close our eyes when we pray? There is nothing in the Bible that says we should pray that way.   Jesus never said, “Let’s bow our heads in prayer.”

Here is my theory.   We can easily have our attention deflected by visual stimuli. This is especially true for the 45% of us whose dominant sense is sight. In home sales, the great agents take care to address all of the senses. You have probably walked into an open house where there is delightful music, the HVAC system has the temperature perfect, a wonderful fragrance fills the air, and a few fresh baked cookies await your taste buds. You feel completely welcome. You feel “at home.”

When it comes to prayer, any of these sensations can distract you from the task at hand. Let us consider that term “welcome.”   If we feel like strangers, intruding into the home of Father God, our discomfort demands that we consider ourselves out of place. He calls those who believe in Him, “my children.”  Jesus called them “brothers and sisters.” So here we are heading into the realm of the Creator of the Universe and we wish to chat with Him like a daddy.

I suggest that we create, based on each of our own dominant senses, a mental picture of how heaven would feel in the presence of God. By replacing a visual distraction with a planned visual image we beat the problem. If you think about it, many religions do this. Jesus on the cross at the altar or a statue of Virgin Mary or images of Buddha or Krishna can be found in cathedrals and temples all over the world.   Candles lit with their glow, sputtering, and fragrant give a hint. The ringing of a bell in Tibet, the touch of a prayer wheel or the lighting of incense in Nepal. Each of these planned distractions cause us to focus on prayer. When we take the trouble, at least mentally, to create the environment, then we are ready to pray.

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