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PRAY: Praying Through Distractions

“Do you mind the music?” my neighbor asked as I entered the small gym in our neighborhood clubhouse. A steamy June morning combined with hay fever symptoms had prompted an indoor prayerwalk. “Not at all,” I responded. After all, he’d started his workout first, and my walk would take forty minutes. Surely I’d outlast him and his boombox. And surely his songs wouldn’t all consist of Latin pop/rock. Wrong—on both counts. Not only did I not outlast him, but he had an entire CD of the driving Latin beat. Because I seek to concentrate on intercession, I don’t always take my iPod along when I prayerwalk. Now, I faced a new test. How could I pray effectively amidst the throbbing bass and screaming vocals? Although Zumba (an aerobic-style workout set to Latin music) has intrigued me for several months, today’s musical offering didn’t promise much in the way of a prayerwalking experience. Wrong again. I began my treadmill time by confessing my distraction and frustration. I asked God to help me worship regardless. Suddenly, I realized: The following day, my two youngest daughters were leaving on the first leg of their summer mission trips to South and Central America. And in about two weeks, I was traveling to Guatemala and a mission trip with SUSIE Magazine. “Listen, and pray for the people who listen to this kind of music every day,” God whispered. That day, I had no trouble keeping up with the fast-paced treadmill. (Maybe there’s something to this Zumba idea after all). And I had no trouble concentrating on my prayers, either. While I walked, I could see the faces of the people in whose countries my daughters and I will serve. As I heard their music, I prayed for their lives, their hearts, and their responsiveness to the Gospel. I prayed for the teams and leadership who would minister to them. And the more I prayed, the more easily my prayers flowed. God’s grace allowed me to deal with my distractions by turning them into prayers. What about you? What distractions threaten your prayer time? How can God use them for good? Let us pray—and talk about it,...

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