“In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.” My hands unfold, my eyes open, and my neck extends to the upright position. As someone with ADHD, I rarely pray without a wandering mind. To be honest, in the past, this caused me a great deal of frustration. To this day, the longer the prayer, the more my posture shifts as I get antsy in my seat. A friend of mine recently confessed that she can’t keep her eyes completely closed during prayer. Do these challenges make us bad, or our prayers less effective?
God made us as we are with our unique personalities and qualities. My prayer life greatly improved once I embraced the reality that my attention span is limited, and I will have a plethora of random thoughts, ideas, fears, questions, anxieties, and inspirations enter my mind as I pray. ADHD is not an enemy of prayer time. My relationship with God grew when I realized He could turn my ADHD into good as I noticed my busy brain actually helps in the posture of my heart to pray throughout the day. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
If the purpose of prayer is to commune with God, to deepen our relationship with Him, then is it possible that He cares more about the posture of our heart than the posture of our body as we pray? The longer I walk with Jesus, the more I’m convinced of this very thing. Paul Miller, in the book A Praying Life, puts it this way: “A praying life isn’t simply a morning prayer time; it is about slipping into prayer at odd hours of the day, not because we are disciplined but because we are in touch with our own poverty of spirit, realizing that we can’t even walk through a mall or our neighborhood with the help of the Spirit of Jesus.”
Perhaps you have ADHD or are simply struggling with more rigid prayer times. I pray you will be encouraged to position the posture of your heart to be open to praying continually throughout each day. Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.“ Because Jesus is more interested in the openness of our hearts than the closing of our hands, we don’t have to be discouraged when random thoughts or anxieties enter our minds in addition to what we were set out to pray for (or even if we forget what we were “supposed” to be praying about.)
When we realize we cannot do life without Him, praying without ceasing becomes part of everyday life. May the posture of our hearts be open to the Lord, to invite Him into every area of our life.