This morning I woke to have my “quiet time, ” because I’ve resolved to find intimacy with my God, to watch it spill over into intimacy with my husband. It has been a while, though, since I’ve felt I get anything out of this time I give to God because I have failed at prayer. It’s not that I fail to begin a prayer. It’s that I can’t complete a thought in prayer.
So this morning, I question why this used to be the easiest part of my day. When did I get spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder? Blaming it too long on “my stage of life” when other hard things have only enmeshed me with Christ, I question the Great Initiator, and instead I’m interrupted again.
My thoughts blur, and inevitably, I replay a scene or I imagine one up, and in this scene, I grapple hurt: when someone wrongly accused me or when someone’s moral failure disappointed me. Often I imagine being able to tell that person how I feel.
I catch myself distracted, and then I restart prayer. Again, it doesn’t work, and then I go about my day with an undercurrent of irreparability.
But today, because I finally asked, after wandering from Spirit conversation, He allows me to see. I’ve walked long in the soul-sickness of unforgiveness.
In Mark 11:25, Jesus says, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
But I’m honest, and in response, I say: “I don’t know how to forgive. I thought I forgave already.” Christ is so gentle how He shows me intimacy. He didn’t just come down and say, “I forgive you.” He came and He showed me. He came and He worked it out. He worked it out, and He cried, and He sweat, and He bled. He gave up His right to punish me.
So this morning, I was intimate with God, and He Agape-Loved me – unconditional, worked-out love. His love is not a plaque-worthy saying or a one-time deeming. It’s ongoing and living.
So it is to be like agape love with forgiveness, especially considering how I receive such unearned love and forgiveness from God. I’m not just to say it, it’s mine but I am to continually work it out, like salvation – with fear and trembling.
by Amber Haines, the run-a-muckLeave a Comment
Yes! Amen! You nailed it for me. In my case, attempting to walk in forgiveness and reconsiliation has made me vulnerable to someone who still has tremendous ability to hurt and dissapoint me. It’s just hard. Thank you for your words. They are ministering to this wounded heart more than you know this morning.
Oh Amber, yes! I too suffer from ADD of the soul, and I flit from one reading to the next, never digging deep down enough for it to penetrate this thick skull and give truth time enough to germinate and grow. One truth at a time. Because sometimes focusing on just one at a time yields a much greater crop.
Thank you for this.
I’m struggling with how to forgive someone without trusting them or even respecting them as well. I’m not called to do those last two, as I am the first one. It’s definitely an every day, lay-it-at-the-foot-of-the-cross thing.
girl…did you write that just for me???
This was oh so good! It is so important to leave every sin confessed, at the foot of the cross. Also, to forgive others. . . because, if we have unforgiveness in our hearts, He will not hear our prayers.
I’ve been there… when my prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling right back at me. The times when I can’t complete a thought in prayer, without getting distracted.
Oh, that my prayers and time of intimacy will my Father, would be open … naked … pure!
Hugs to you !
Kelly Langner Sauer says
wow. sitting, staring, thinking. i thought i forgave too. i’m going to have to think on this one for a while…
Excellent. That’s about all I know to say. Excellent.
OMGosh Amber…this is totally me! I have got the worst case of prayer ADD and I can’t find any medication for it that works! I think I need to start my spiritual learning over from the beginning until I regain some semblance of control. Thanks so much for putting a name to this “problem”! Have a blessed day!
I find some things are easy to forgive, but others are hard. I just have a question…if someone keeps hurting you, how do you forgive? The only way I found was to get away from that person, so they can’t have access to me again. Then I can forgive…the forgetting is hard…so I pray for her and try to let go again. Some personalities are just too damaging…and you have to let them go and let God work with them. As for prayer ADD, I feel that way, too…some days. I think that is because our lives can be so pressured and interrupted that it is hard to finish a thought. I just ask God to steady my mind…breathe deeply centering my mind to my deepest concerns and give them over to Him. Then I feel the stirring of the Spirit wash against my soul…it undwinds and unfolds and I relax against the perfect sustaining love and am comforted and nourished. When my mind is finally calm, I return to my day when my soul is replenished and recharged. I’ve done this even when my children were small. Energy returns and I am able to take on the rest of the day. Sometimes…I need recharging again…later, so I take some more time to be with my Abba.
Spiritual ADD…I thought I was the only one…I find it important to look for something deeper in those wandering thoughts…sometimes they contain the message God has for us…but we are too distracted by being distracted that we can’t recognize it…
Amber, Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I was just thinking (and praying) about spiritual ADD this morning. No matter how much I try to focus, I have such a hard time staying in the moment when I pray. Especially on weekdays, when I know I’m on a “timer” with my quiet time. I feel like I’m constantly apologizing to God for my lack of focus in prayer. But you’re absolutely right… maybe the answer is figuring out if there’s something I’m NOT praying for (the ability to forgive, asking forgiveness for my own sins, etc) that’s making my mind wander. It’s encouraging to hear I’m not the only one struggling with it.
Thanks again and God bless!
Angela Nazworth says
Lovely, Amber. Thank you for sharing. We are so alike in this..and many other areas.
you got me. this is where I am. i say i’ve forgiven, but the next time i’m reminded, i’m hurt and angry again, and I wonder why He doesn’t seem as loud and clear to me as He once has. It’s me- not Him. Thank you.
Renay Ibarra says
You cut me right to the heart! I often do the same thing in prayer. You also confirmed something that I feel the Lord has been trying to tell me– I’m still suffering with unforgiveness. Like you, I don’t know how to forgive because I thought I had. I pray that the Lord works this out in both our lives. Until then thank you for sharing something so personal. Your honest struggle is going to be used for His glory!
I’m struggling with forgiveness too. I am trying to forgive but I can tell that I haven’t really and I know it is a barrier for me. Maybe the key is to just keep trying and praying and one day I will feel that the barrier has dropped.
Your post reminded me of Mike Yaconelli’s poem “A Terrible Prayer,” from the book Ragamuffin Prayers. The link below is from a pastor who shared it on his blog. It sounds like you’re not such a terrible prayer. I love how Abba is so good to us even in our struggling to ‘show up’ for him.
Oh. Oh, oh, oh. In the areas of forgiveness, I’ve had to learn and learn and learn. Again and again.
I have prayer ADD, too.
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
Oh, Amber. Thank you for this. I suffer from this and can beat myself up something fierce over it. Thank you for reminding me that His love is ongoing, alive and that I am to work it out. Just keep on keepin’ on. I needed this today.
Cortney @ Evan Has Landed says
I so needed to hear this today. Thank you for you openness and honesty because it truly was a blessing reading this post.
Sharon Layton says
I, too, have Prayer ADD. What a good description of the problem. I thought I had “forgiven’ but God used your post to show me I had not. I want to be an effective Prayer Warrior but I see that this issue must be worked through to really be effective. I need to not only forgive but FORGET and TURN AWAY from the temptation to return to thoughts of the issue. Praise the Lord, He does indeed hear our cries and helps us move in the right direction.
Ah – the do-over. I know I own this ADD. My thoughts blur, too. Thomas Keating says that each time we return to prayer in our hearts and minds, we are showing love to God. If this is true, then I have heaped love lately. But I have to ask, if this is a justification, a rationalization. I don’t know.
Perfect – what I will carry with me – “But today, because I finally asked, after wandering from Spirit conversation, He allows me to see.” and “I am to continually work it out, like salvation – with fear and trembling.”
Girl. I have so much ADD in me that I couldn’t make it through the article without also listening to Sponge Bob instruct my kids on how to poop on a robot; and to my mother teaching the baby how to play a ‘song’ on the piano… and wondering if all the food was put away because I still smell crabcakes from the kitchen… and looking at the clock to see how much time there was to get this mess cleaned up – and if there will be any time for me to read before I have to nurse the baby to sleep. Oh, the world is so, so busy.
I get lost in that one verse. It takes me on as a mascot:
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Oh, Lord… help us to be like Mary and not Martha.
And if there is un-forgiveness or some other block – please roll it away. Clear our minds and open our eyes to see. Amen.