"I struggle with quieting my mind."
I repeatedly hear some version of this when ministering in sessions to believers. I also hear it in plain conversation, when people share with me about their prayer blocks. I myself have frequently been experiencing quieting my own mind and soul down in the last month to pray.
Hearing the same struggle from unbelievers and seekers too. Just had a conversation with a guy who admitted he wants to quiet his mind and get to know God, but feels its a frustrating and fruitless endeavor because he can't sit still.
What wisdom do I believe is coming from the Holy Spirit on this? For me, and hopefully this will help you too, I am freshly crying out for mercy. Simple as that. Powerful outcome!
Last night as I was going to sleep, I used one scripture of a cry for mercy, half of a scripture actually, and repeated it over and over and over AND visualized it. In the process I did eventually fall asleep. The whole prayer time until sleep probably lasted 10 minutes. Repeating a short scripture with a simple picture is kind of like a form of "counting sheep" I suppose.
In counting sheep, you not only count, you also "see" the sheep jumping over the fence. In doing so, you are focusing your mind on the natural process of counting with a simple image, the sheep scene playing in your mind. I don't know the science behind it, but counting sheep can help one fall asleep. Certainly it helps take our mind off of what consumes and puts it in a non-threatening or non-stressful situation of counting sheep. This seems to logically lead to the mind relaxing and eventual sleep. Of course in regards to prayer, our goal is not to fall asleep, we want our minds transformed!
But in this exercise, as you do it before bedtime, don't feel bad if you fall asleep repeating a simple scripture, picturing a comforting scene of God's love. God's Word is living and active and I believe going to sleep in this way opens up a door for His Word to process in you while you sleep, giving you a new perspective upon waking.
So instead of counting and picturing sheep, repeat and picture scripture. It helps; it really does. It's best to not make up your own picture though, you should know what to picture in the context of the scripture. Behind words in scripture are countless pictures. These are discovered by going to biblical dictionaries and a bible concordance. It's surprising the number of pictures and scenes hidden behind words in scripture and they give a much deeper and richer revelation of God's intent. It can truly be a full sensory experience once you see what is behind a word. Additionally, approaching God's Word this way is a great help in prayer and meditation and scripture interpretation.
As an example lets look at soul thirst. When the psalmist explains how his soul is thirsty, here is what he writes- "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." What is the scene describing his soul thirst? A deer panting for water. Deer will pant to lose heat; and in the process lose water, create thirst driving their need to seek water. This is how the psalmist parallels his soul need. When we are "panting" inside, we are not at rest. We are upset, overwhelmed etc. Our soul need a drink that satisfies and calms us. For whom is the soul directed for relief? God.
This is only one example of God having pictures behind words in scripture that add meaning and context. These pictures help reveal His love and truth giving us a way to more fully consume our minds and FOCUS.
Now let's look at mercy and asking for mercy to help quiet our mind before sleep. What do you think is the biblical picture behind mercy? As I mentioned, I have learned not to conjure it up. I look it up. God's definitions are often not anything to depth of meaning as what we might imagine. To our pleasant surprise, what His concrete definitions are very rich in depth, breadth. width, and heavenly heights.
Mercy in Hebrew is rooted in a word that means to incline towards, encamp around, rest and abide in a protective covering. Further it means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to direct favor, to grant and bestow a generous gift and kindness.
Think of all the pictures that come together to picture God's mercy! Can you see God inclining his ear towards you, encamping around you with His presence, you resting in the protective covering of His holiness and divine power around you? Can you see Him stooping, bending in kindness towards you, directing his favor upon you, granting you your request and offering you undeserved kindness? That is a lot of transformative truth and a lot of pictures to ponder to "see" mercy! Just think of one comforting thought that fits the "scene" of mercy according to the definition and make that your picture.
For some help, think of scripture accounts of the LORD stooping and offering underserved mercy. Reflect on the account of Him washing his disciples feet. He even washed the feet of the one who betrayed him to death! Think about the account of him touching the leper. Read the account of him talking to the woman at the well. Reflect on the accounts of him staying silent in the midst of countless false witnesses. Read the account of his words to the thief on the cross. Our Savior is a God who acts from His character of divine mercy!
Give it a try. Simplify your prayer. Just cry out for mercy AND visualize one small scene that puts you in the picture of receiving mercy.
Psalm 57:1a is the "half" of scripture I prayed last night for a couple of minutes in bed and then kept repeating and visualizing as I lay down. First I started sitting up in bed until I was easily repeating the scripture over and over. Then I put myself in the picture. I pictured myself running to His protective love and covering. I was safe and abiding in His covering where no one could get to me. His mercy was covering me. Then I laid down and kept repeating and picturing. Not aware of when or how, I was calm and quiet and fell asleep. Try it.
Psalm 57:1a- "Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge..."
Say it over and over and over and picture a scene like that of the biblical definition of mercy. Put yourself in a scene to cry out and also "see" His mercy being extended to you. Yes, do this to help you quiet your mind. Test Him in this, see if His Word truly has power.
What was the outcome for me? Interestingly, in a quiet way through the night I was aware that my thoughts ended up gently wrestling with Christ's mercy towards Judas, the one who betrayed him to death. This led me to think about people and situations in my life and a desire began to bubble up to offer mercy and unexpected kindness! It was amazing considering where I've been in my thoughts! Lots of stinkin' thinkin'! Yet I woke up in the morning with conviction to offer mercy towards others, mercy I've been wanting to withhold! God had mercy on my closed heart! Sweet relief!
God's Word is truly living and active, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart! Repeating the Word of God, envisioning the Word of God, ingesting, mulling over, considering (all forms of biblical meditation) produces a vastly different outcome than counting sheep. It renews our mind and hides His word in our heart so that we don't sin against him, Romans 12:2 and Psalm 119:11.
Mind spinning?! Stinkin' thinkin'? Simplify! Cry out for Christ's tender mercy! Once you truly receive it anew, you will want to give it!
"How best can I show gratitude to God for sparing my life....Go to the market, buy some water, wine, grape juice and milk, and give to those thirsty people who come to the market who are in the scorching sun, heavy laden. As you give to these people, you give to God—This is what the Hindus teach as well as Jesus. Krishna taught this 500 years before Christ. There are good morals, ethics on how to live from Krishna, but not salvation." ~ Pillai
Luke 18:…37“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him. 38 So he called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 39 Those who led the way admonished him to be silent, but he cried out all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”…
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!