Links Daily Devotional

Focus

And he came, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37-38, ESV)

If you love golf and you love to laugh—or even if you just love to laugh—you should read the works of P. G. Wodehouse. He was perhaps the greatest comic writer of all time, creating the incomparable Jeeves and Wooster. But he also wrote brilliantly about golf.

I remembered a Wodehouse line on golf the other night while I was praying. There was apparently much on my mind because I could not keep it still for any length of time. Within seconds of focusing on someone I wanted to pray for, my mind was off on another person or another topic that had nothing to do with my intended prayer.

Many times our prayers are far more important in the scheme of things than we imagine. Yet we fail to focus.As I lay in bed wrestling with my restless brain, frustration suddenly gave way to laughter. In fact I almost laughed out loud, and would have done so and risked waking up my wife had I not been able to quickly bury my face in my pillow. The cause of the laughter was that my flitting-here-and-there mind landed on this quote from Wodehouse: “The least thing upset him on the links. He missed short putts because of the uproar of the butterflies in the adjoining meadows.”

I laughed because it’s funny and because I was that guy. I wasn’t missing short putts, I was missing short prayers. No doubt it was the uproar of the butterflies outside the walls of my house. I blamed it on Satan, but the lack of focus was mine.

Perhaps you, too, have experienced something similar while praying. If so, you will have more empathy for Peter and the other disciples who let sleep steal their prayers. Jesus wanted them to pray for the sake of their own safety. Would Peter’s denial of Jesus have been different if he had stayed awake and prayed?

I believe that many times our prayers are far more important in the scheme of things than we imagine. Yet we fail to focus.

One antidote for me is to write my prayers, whether on paper or on my computer, because that helps me focus. If something does distract me (more noisy butterflies?), I can go back to the page and pick up where I left off.

Being fallible humans, we will get distracted and we may fall asleep during times of prayer, though the better we focus our minds the less that will happen. Focus is a great skill to have for golf, but I think it is put to even better use when we apply it to our conversations with God. Can I get an Amen?

Lewis Greer
November 18, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.