“HELP ME, LORD. Help me to FOCUS. Forgive me for my horrendous waste of time. I need to be disciplined, Lord. (can be interpreted either/or both ways!) I don’t want to get diabetes. Save my children. Save our friends.”
Have you ever prayed this way? Been so distracted, doing everything but what you intended to do, until you are running out of time, have deadlines to meet, need to get it done, and are frustrated and broken enough to FINALLY settle down and address the task at hand. It has happened to me more times than I may want to admit. And the first thing I do is ask the Lord for help, because I know that is what I need in order to accomplish the task. I cannot do it without His help.
But why do I wait until I am desperate to give my attention to the Lord? I believe it is because I have lost my focus; have put it on other things besides the Lord. I have been distracted by the busyness of life, or even in the pleasure that the Lord has given me in enjoying His bountiful gifts. Despite my ever-growing love for the Lord and His Word, despite my desire to serve Him and please Him, despite all the gratitude I have for all He has done for me, I remain sidetracked until He brings me to the place where I need to pray that prayer I prayed at the beginning of this post. The Lord does a work in my heart to draw my attention back to Him. He fills me with the desire to “draw near to God, and (then) He …draws near to (me).” (James 4:8)
I prayed that prayer right before I opened my Bible. (Well, that was my intention. But first I had to run to my computer to write this all down before I forgot it!) That prayer sounded as scattered as I felt. Now here is what I find to be so cool: when I come to the Lord, He fills me with so much inspiration. He never fails; He always delivers. He is faithful to keep His promises. And what promises He gives! “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25)
So as you face another summer filled with distractions of all sorts, especially we Midwesterners who have to pack our few fair-weather months with all the activity we can, I encourage you to focus first on the Lord. Run to the Living Water of the Word to satisfy your thirst, to fill your every longing. Take a walk beside the still waters to restore your soul. Draw from the well of salvation and let the springs of living water flow out of you to refresh others. “The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)