“…I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.” 1 Corinthians 14:15a

Set Your Mind

After yet another morning of unfocused prayer, alone in a quiet room, with eyes shut tightly, I remembered something I read not long ago: human beings have been given the extraordinary ability to make a choice about where to put their thoughts. If you’ve ever sat thinking through a problem, or indulged an emotion, or looked through a photo album remembering another time and place, you have chosen to focus your attention on that thing.

We may not realize that our thought life is a weapon given by God to either fight against or submit to our enemy. Thoughts are entirely within our control—God said as much when He told us to “think on these things” (Philippians 4:8), and “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19), and “as a man thinks, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

I sat up straighter in my chair in that quiet place and gave myself a stern talking to. “Now listen here—God has said that I have the exceptional ability to think about whatever I choose to think about. I can focus on Him. I can consciously remember the things people have asked me to pray for. I can bring my friends before His throne for blessing, growth, healing. I am able to pray for Israel and our government officials as God has asked me to. I can pray with intention. I can ignore wrong thinking at this very moment. I do not need to be governed by my own carnal imagination; no one is forcing me to follow the impulses of my flesh. I will choose to set my mind on things above.”

It made all the difference in the remaining time of prayer. God had already “trained my hands for battle” (Psalm 144:1) by teaching me to give close attention to other things in life, thus I knew the enemy could be defeated in the sinister plan to defeat me. The Spirit gave me a will to choose what is right. He reminded me of the power of prayer and the authority of His Word. He spoke to my heart that He can be trusted with my concerns. He brought all things to my remembrance that needed to be prayed for. I ended up knowing full well that God had given me the opportunity (and a practice session) to literally and purposefully set my mind on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2).

We can practice “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If it wasn’t possible, He would not have told us to do it!

“Father, we desire our every thought and impulse to be governed by You. Help us in our weakness. Amen.”