Too distracted not to pray
Is your smartphone, tablet or other techie gadget getting more airtime/attention than God? Is social media driving a wedge between you and your heavenly Father? Are those pesky notifications becoming an irritation to the Holy Spirit?
I hate to admit this but I am guilty as charged, though I am actively working on this (I have taken a hiatus from social media). If you are like me, you did not start out that way: you loved the Lord and wanted to spend all your time with Him. Yet, here we are, trapped by advances of technology and a fast-paced life that is becoming very dependent on it. Whilst technology, mobile devices and the Internet were designed to be a blessing, in some cases, they have become the very things that draw us away from God. The outcome is technologically advanced yet spiritually backward, lukewarm, non-praying, weak and, quite frankly, backslidden saints (sorry, but let’s be real here). The sad truth is we don’t even realise it. Why? Because this has been a subtle yet negative change over time.
Technology: blessing or curse?
Perhaps you still cannot relate to what I have said so far or don’t see what the problem is. If so, why not read the following and see if you can relate to any of these scenarios:
- You find yourself glancing at your phone during prayer/worship/quiet times/service, checking out what’s new in your inbox, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. Whilst you may not have intentionally done this, I have, at times, innocently picked up the phone to use my notes app to record what I felt the Holy Spirit was saying, to play a song, or even to check out a different version of a Scripture using a Bible app… But darn you, notifications! You catch my attention and I succumb. Alas, I get sucked in. Later on, I catch myself and repent, asking the Holy Spirit to remind me of what He was trying to tell me. Oh dear.
- In the middle of worship or prayer, your phone rings. You apologise to God, ask to be excused, and quickly handle the call, as it could be urgent. It could be a response to your latest job interview, or an agency calling you for work – something you have been praying about. And so you answer the ‘No Caller ID’ or unrecognisable number, only to find it is the ‘PPI lot’ calling or some company telling you about the car accident you never had – the one you need to claim for. Arrrggghhh!
- You promised to spend time with God today. But, before you do, you click on your favourite social media app ‘just to see what is happening’. The next thing you know, 2-3 hours have gone by, and all you have accomplished is watching funny videos or photos of ‘friends’. Determined to spend time with God, you repent and then start. Later, you wake up after nodding off, missing the opportunity to converse with God or read your Bible. You feel guilty but tomorrow, being another day, you plan to do a better job. Except that you fall into a similar trap. And so the cycle continues.
- You lose your smartphone or mobile device, and your world comes to an end or feels like it has just turned upside down. But you lose your Bible and you say, “Hey-ho”, shrug it off and, at some point, get a new one.
Prayer: Oh Lord, help us from this madness that strives to put a wedge between us and You.
Drifting away… slowly
There comes a time when we have to accept the fact that the more we become preoccupied or distracted this way, not just with technology, gadgets and the Internet but with our busy lives, the more we will find ourselves drifting away from God.
“Lose your phone and your world turns upside down. Lose your Bible, you shrug and go get a new one.”
And so we need to be proactive about this. For some of us, we need drastic action like I had to do, lest we spend our lives distant and disengaged from God. When that happens, our relationship with Him becomes questionable. I don’t know about you but, whilst in ‘distracted’ mode, I struggle to hear His voice and I feel weaker as a Christian. In this state, we become susceptible to all sorts. We are also prone to making foolish decisions and poor choices because He is no longer directing our steps.
Remaining connected (or should I say logged in) with God
There are so many ways to remain connected with God. And it is not always about getting on your knees, putting your hands together and bowing your head. Nor is it always about spending hours praying (though great to do). Rather, it is about engaging your heart and mind and turning heavenward – regardless of how busy/distracting your day may be – and maintaining this 24/7.
“How can I do this?” You ask, especially with so much demanding our attention. My answer: It is a ‘heart & mind thing’. It’s about keeping Him in the forefront of your mind every moment of the day, just as you would do when you are in love. It really is that simple.
I believe God wants full time custody of His children – NOT weekend visits. Though this may seem to apply to our Sunday pilgrimage to church, it also applies to every waking moment of our lives. So, take a step towards God by making one simple change today. It does not have to be huge, but one simple change can make a huge difference to your relationship with Him.
Written by Gladys Famoriyo – Speaker and Author of Bounce Back!; Quit Hiding, Start Living!; Healing a Discouraged Heart; and Overcoming Emotional Baggage. www.gladysf.com