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Spiritual Discipline: Battling Distractions

“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:2-5 ESV)

So far I’ve shared about the problem of discipline and the problem of dryness. If the first two problems aren’t impacting your quiet time, it’s very likely that the devil will use the power of distraction to get to you.

It’s what I call the “battle of the brain.” You try to focus on praying and studying God’s Word, but your mind wanders all over the place. It's like spiritual ADD (attention deficit disorder). When that happens, it's very easy to put your head down, close your eyes, and fall back asleep.

Or, you could put up a fight in the battle of the brain by:

  • Taking a walk. Ever notice that often when Jesus was teaching people, they were eating or walking. It’s hard to fall asleep as you walk or eat!
  • Keeping a notepad nearby. Just write down whatever distractions are coming to your mind. Then you can just forget it, because it’s on a list you can deal with later.

There’s nothing wrong with getting distracted during a quiet time. It’s natural. But you need a plan for when you do.

Talk About It

  • Don’t wait until tomorrow morning or your next quiet time to fight the battle of the brain. What can you do right now to help minimize the distractions you might face?
  • Consider that the battle of the brain is also fought against Satan, who is trying desperately to take your focus off of God. Make this fight personal, and determine that you will not let Satan have control over your thoughts and where your mind takes you.


Here are 40 ideas for serving your community while spending 40 days in the Word!

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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