How many times have I sat down to pray only to find my mind going off on a thousand bunny trails? I try to pray for five minutes, but the day’s to-do list pops up before me, my mind wonders to my grocery list, or I space out completely. Occasionally a scatterbrained, nonsense prayer rolls off my tongue, like “Oh Lord, please bless the gloves.” The gloves? Where did that come from? I’m sure this never happens to you, right?
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful,” Paul says in Colossians 4:2. But when I sit down to devote myself to prayer, my mind wanders. Each morning God’s word encourages, strengthens and guides me for the day ahead, but I have a hard time praying because distraction is my default mental state.
What if I told you that walking is the best thing that ever happened to my prayer life? Somehow going outdoors frees me from the distraction of seeing everything around me that needs doing at home. Witnessing God’s creation first hand gives me a sense of thankfulness and abundance. Getting my body moving helps my mind to stay focused. My thirty minute morning walking date with God does wonders for our relationship.
Here are five ideas for spending time in prayer out on the walking trail:
Pray Through Your List:
Do you keep a prayer list? On the days when I’m organized enough to actually find mine, I clutch it in my hand as I walk. (Sometimes I wonder what my fellow walkers on the trail think when they see me with that paper) Using a list keeps my mind on track and helps me remember to pray for people in my life that I don’t see every day.
Pray Through the Day Ahead of You.
What would happen if we took the anxious thoughts about the day ahead and turned them into prayers?
Pour out Your Heart
For days when you wake up overwhelmed or upset, all you can do is pour out your heart. Sometimes I tell God exactly what I feel, just as if I were talking with a close friend. He listens to me and loves me anyway, every time.
Get a New Perspective
Part of my walking time I spend thinking over problems and situations in my life, so I ask God to give me his perspective. Taking time to reflect can be so productive. Some of my best ideas come while I’m walking.
Receive God’s Peace
Most mornings I return home just a bit more peaceful than I was before I left. Getting out to take a walk with God prepares me for the day both physically and spiritually in a way that sitting down never would.
Do you ever have trouble staying focused enough to pray? What works for you? What do you like to do to bring freshness into your relationship with God?