Last month I tried to encourage us to keep persevering in our private prayers in spite of the difficulties. Wandering thoughts are a common problem. Somehow, we need a quick and practical way of coming back to prayer when our thoughts wander.
If we go away on a trip using public transport it is comforting to know that we have a return ticket. Bible verses and phrases are ideal to help us return to our prayers. You can find verses to help throughout the Bible, particularly in the Psalms.
So why not try writing out a Bible verse in big print and displaying it prominently near your place of prayer? When your mind wanders and you realize that you are “on your travels” once again, pick up your written out verse and read it. Doing this will kill the wandering thoughts and act like the return ticket bringing your mind back to your prayers. A weekly change of the “ticket” will counteract any tendency to take the Bible verse for granted!
Here are some examples to get you started.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18)
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge. (Psalm 73:28a)
Jesus came and stood among them and said “peace be
with you” (John 20:19b)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26)
If, (like me!) you have to use the verse quite a lot, you will find that after a couple of days it will be fixed in your memory. We speak of a simple tune “getting on our brains”. The same thing can happen with our Bible verse and this has a second very broad practical advantage.
Everyday situations can all too easily make us irritated, worried or apprehensive. Then again we may suddenly find ourselves concerned about someone. If we have our return verse “on the brain” it may well come to the surface at such times and transform the situation into an opportunity for prayer.
If you are trying this for the first time remember you certainly won’t be the first person to do it. You will be joining thousands of Christians who always carry a “Return Verse” in the pocket of their heart and mind, to be used whenever needed to return them to God in prayer.