It seems to me that there is a huge struggle going on in all of us. It’s the ability (or inability) to stay present and focused in the moment. Every ding of the text, email, or comment on a post pulls us out of the moment.
One of the most wonderful things about being in Israel was that most of our phones didn't work because we didn’t have an international plan. Technology isn't the only thing that pulls on us though. There is also work, ministry, family and life in general. Being present is very helpful if you struggle with anxiety, FOMO, and a lack of satisfaction, but just “being present” is not enough without being connected to God spiritually as well.
A lack of focus is something else that has affected my prayer life. I hear from many people that praying for longer than 2 minutes can be a bit of a challenge. Also, it’s easy to only remember to pray when you have a huge need. So, how can the prayer in the Garden change our lives?
In my prayer time two weeks before we went to Israel, I believe God gave me a little prayer template to help me focus. When I came to the Garden and read the scripture where Jesus prayed, I was reminded of the template, and it exploded in my heart because it lined up exactly with what Jesus did.
"And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.'” Luke 22:41-42 AMP
Step one: Worship
Jesus knelt down. This is a position of worship. We start the prayer with worshipful words. Example: “God, I love you so much. Thank you for loving me.”
Step Two: Confess
Jesus asked God to remove something (“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me.) This can be a time of confession or a time to state the things you want removed from your life. It could be sin, doubts, desires, difficulties, etc…
Step Three: Listen
Jesus heard an answer. We don’t know exactly what God said to Jesus, but we know He answered Him based on Jesus’ response. This is an opportunity to listen.
Step Four: Declare
Jesus moved forward. (“…not My will, but [always] Yours be done.”) Declare scripture and move forward. If you need to, get out your Bible and read scriptures over yourself.
You can actually assign the four steps above to the four points of the cross if that helps you remember. (See picture above) At the base of the cross we kneel. To the right we confess and leave behind. At the top we look up and listen, and to the left we go forward and declare. Using this prayer process, take 1 minute or more to meditate on each part.
Do you struggle with focus in prayer?
Using the prayer template, take one minute (or more) to meditate on each part.
Worship, Confess, Listen and Declare. Try this for the next 10 days - morning or night.
Being present in the moment is the best way to connect with God and to connect with those around you.