10 Ways to Focus and Make Prayer More Meaningful


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A list of things I've tried and found helpful to make prayer more meaningful. Free Printable. #CountingMyBlessings #BlessingBloggers

My brain functions like a pinball machine.

For those of you who don’t remember, pinball machines are arcade games where a plunger is used to shoot a steel ball onto a slanted field filled with obstacles. The goal . . . keep the ball in play as long as possible.

So, back to my brain.

It feels like my thoughts are always fighting through an obstacle field of distractions. I do my best to keep them in play as long as possible, but it’s not easy.

I can be a good student and a great listener if I plan in advance to eliminate distractors.

When I really want to pay attention I grab a piece of paper and a pen . . . and turn off all electronics.

Maybe you can relate. Life is noisy and fast. You have dozens of ideas bouncing around in your head. Concentration takes intentional effort and discipline.

This is especially true during prayer.

I can have the best intentions to spend time with the Lord in prayer – but when I pray for Ann, I start to think about Bobby or something that happened last week, or last month, or years ago. And suddenly I realize I haven’t prayed for the last ten minutes.

So, I’ve come up with some things that are helping me stay focused and make prayer more meaningful.

A list of things I've tried and found helpful to make prayer more meaningful. Free Printable. #CountingMyBlessings #BlessingBloggers

10 Ways to Focus and Make Prayer More Meaningful

First, this is not a how-to post. It is just a list of things I’ve tried and found helpful…

Pen and Paper – Grab a journal and write. I’ve started pouring my heart into my prayer journals. Praise. Repent. Ask. Yield. I also write Scripture verses and quotes I find while studying,

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth

Prepare – I started the year sitting down for my quiet time as soon as I got out of bed, but I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering to the things I needed to do to meet my morning goals. So now I prepare by doing my must dos first and then ready my heart and mind to sit quietly with the Lord.

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 1 Peter 1:13

Praise – This is my favorite. I thank God for who He is and remember all He has done and is doing. I want to pay attention and appreciate the countless ways He blesses me every day.

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2

Pardon – Next I ask for forgiveness AND forgive others. This one is never easy. I’d like to gloss over it. Blame someone else. Make excuses. But it’s important. When I stop to recognize my sin and God’s forgiveness I’m overwhelmed by His grace. I need that to help me forgive the people who have hurt me. I don’t think I’d be very good at forgiving without God’s love.

“We pardon to the extent that we love.” ~François de la Rochefoucauld

Personal – This is where I stop and pour my heart out. I talk with God about my joys and struggles. My hopes and dreams. And all the things I’m tempted to worry about. I give it all to Him again and again and again.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:6

People – It’s easy to say “I’ll pray for you,” and then forget. Keeping a list helps. Using a prayer app works, too. Praying for others is the reason I’ve added Blessing Counters Pray Page. Head over and leave a request. I’d love to pray for you.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1

Persistence – I love that Jesus taught about persistent prayer. Do you have things you’ve prayed about for years? Me too!  It’s okay if you and I have prayed for something hundreds of times. If it’s on our hearts and minds it’s important enough to talk with God about it. Jesus said so.

One day Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. Luke 18:1

Patient – Waiting is hard. Trusting God’s perfect timing isn’t easy, but saying it out loud or writing it down helps. Sometimes I just have to say, ““Lord I trust Your perfect will for me. Give me peace while I wait on You.”

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LordBe brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:13–14

Ponder – This part is really hard for my pinball brain. Just sitting. Listening. But it’s important. So, I’m intentionally sitting still in His presence and asking Him to speak to my heart.

“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine.” ~Andrew Murray

Possible – I end my prayer time trusting that with God all things are possible. He is able. He will change my circumstances or He will change me. I simply pray, “Your will be done.”

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:27

If you can relate. If staying focused and having a meaningful time of prayer has been hard for you. I suggest you give these things a try.

Here’s a printable to help. Just click on the graphic and print…

10 Ways to Focus and Make Prayer More Meaningful

Remember – Your Father loves you. He hears and answers every prayer.

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  1. LOVE this. Thanks so much!!

    1. Thank you, Tina! I’m so glad it blessed you!

  2. So helpful, Deb! Thanks!

  3. Deb, your wise advice concerning prayer couldn’t have come at a better time. Over our vacation, Danny and I watched “The War Room” and I came back home determined to make my area of Bible study and prayer just that. The print out you gave us today will be the first thing I post to my War Room wall. Hooray!
    Love, thanks, and blessings!

    1. I love “The War Room.” What a great movie. I believe it is inspiring many to be more intentional and persistent in prayer. I’m so glad this bless you today, Martha! Thank you and God bless!

  4. What a great prayer post, Deb!
    I love the list of “p’s” and the printable at the end.
    Oh, to persist in prayer. Going to use this one and share it everywhere today!

    1. Thank you, Melanie! You always make my day with your kind encouragement! Blessings my friend!

  5. This is really helpful, Deb! My brain is like a pinball machine too…especially when I want to pray. I’m going to print this out and put it in my Bible.

    1. Thanks, Dawn! I’m so glad to know I’m not alone with my pinball attention. Whew! Blessings to you!!

  6. Kim Jolly says:

    Hi Deb, I can relate all too well to having a pinball machine, especially during prayer. Thank you for these suggestions.

    Another suggestion would be to simply write as you pray–not making it legible–just a tool to focus your heart and mind. My pastor does this and suggested it to me.


    1. I haven’t tried that, Kim. That’s an interesting idea. I do write my prayers and verses that touch my heart while I’m studying. And that definitely helps me stay focused. Blessings to you as well!

  7. I face the same struggles! Those are great ways to fight against the distractions.

  8. From one ping-pong brain to another, I love this! I had to laugh because I have struggled with this since I was a little girl. I call it my exit ramps 🙂 Kind of like I just keep exiting off the freeway and getting distracted by all the goodies at each exit! Ha! Deb, I can’t wait to share this. There is just so much good here.

    1. I love that! Exit ramps! Yes, I exit way to early and too often. Poor Rev. Thankfully, he patient and finds it amusing . . . most of the time. Thanks for your encouragement my friend!! Blessings!

  9. Christine Duncan says:

    Love the graphic… printed it out to put by my study desk! As always, your posts are filled with encouraging info and tips on getting closer to the Father in really great practical ways, Deb. Once again, so pleased I was your neighbour over at the #TestimonyTuesday linkup… have a week filled with His glorious love!

    1. Thank you, Christine! Your encouragement is a blessing today! I love your promises post and the reminder of the victory we have in Jesus. Blessings and hugs to you!

  10. Good idea with the printable Deb…a good tool for staying focused in prayer. Stopping over from the #RaRalinkup 🙂

    1. Thanks Katie, I need all the help I can get! Lots of tools to keep me focused. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to say ‘hi’. Blessings to you!

  11. Thanks, Deb. Great read. I shared it with my Facebook group!

  12. I love this. These are such great ideas. I think I need to print this out and keep it by my bed! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Deb, I find I can concentrate better if I prepare by clearing the path too. I need to turn off the electronics. Great post!

  14. I can totally relate to this and I love your ideas to help! Thank you, Deb for linking up at Women With Intention this week! Look forward to what you will share tomorrow! 🙂

  15. Hi, Deb! It can be so easy to get distracted while praying, can’t it? Just thinking right now…maybe this topic gives another aspect to ‘taking every thought captive under the authority of Christ’?? Hmmm…if we put that into practice in our prayer lives…well, I’ll give it a shot!
    Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.

  16. OH my goodness, thank God He lead me to this. I was just thinking that my mind is all over the place when it comes to me praying and just spending time with God. This has helped me tremendously. Thank you so much. I did print out this page and I will be following you. Thank you, thank you and thank you again.

  17. Purity kwamboka says:

    Wow this is so awesome especially a young lady like me with all kinds of emotions but I try my best to stay strong I recently established a great relationship with Jesus and so far it’s doing good and I thank you for using internet and this platform to take people like me closer to God may God bless u❤❤❤

    1. I’m so glad this blessed you, Purity! Thank you for taking the time to stop and say hello. May God bless you and encourage you as you walk with Him. <3

  18. Thank you so much… It is helpful. After reading this post now we can know real meaning of prayer.

  19. Montreseyal Warren says:

    I really enjoyed reading this because it fit me so will be after reading this I pray to God I can stay focus and I will pray this out when I get to work

  20. Hi Deb,
    Thank you for this. This is so helpful.
    Wil be pinning this.

  21. Rauni Gott says:

    Hi Deb! Bless you for posting this blog. One of my main problems of prayers is my mind goes into overload and I get sidetracked easily. I like your metaphor of the pinball machine. Even when I go to a quite place in my home, it’s still hard me to think of everything and everyone that I need to be praying for. I love to write and journal and never thought about writing them down. Again, Thank you so much for the help 🙂
    May God Bless You!

  22. Deb, thank you for this article today. I’m feeling so stuck in my prayer life and these seem like helpful tools to push through. Now, if He will help me with the patience and persistence in the waiting!

    1. Hi, Jen! I’m so glad it blessed you! And I’m joining you in prayer for patience and persistence in the journey! God bless you!