All I needed was a prayer for focus.
Except I didn’t know that it was what I needed.
This was where I was at in prayer. Have any of these ever happened to you?
- My mind would start wandering as soon as I started praying
- I thought I was praying silently, just to realize two minutes later that I was planning my grocery list in my head
- I would wait all day to pray, just to forget what I was going to pray about
All this frustration I found in getting distracted from prayer, I forgot to pray about praying!
So I created a prayer for focus, and it has not only helped me with prayer but with other parts of life too. So I’m going to share that prayer below, and then follow it with different types of focused prayers for all parts of life (check out the table of contents to find the one that best would apply to you!)
Short prayer for focus
“Lord, snap me out of it!”
I told you it was short, haha! And I don’t whisper it, I YELL it.
I know it sounds sort of strange, even comical, but I want you to know the roots behind it.
Our beautiful Book of Psalms is a book that is full of prayers. Whenever I worry about how to pray, I remember that the psalms cover all different types of prayer. The psalms are also poetry, so it comes with all different types of figure of speech, sentence structure, and more. And a lot of psalms actually contain very short sentences purposefully.
Some examples of short sentences/prayers in the psalms:
- “Lord, do not forsake me” (Psalm 38:21)
- “Turn, Lord, and deliver me” (Psalm 6:4)
- “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1)
Quick, sudden prayers can shift our brain and our perspective. It can help re-orient us. But only if we say it as abruptly as the sentence is.
Another quick tip to focus on prayer
I created something called the Squirrel Chart. It’s very simple: if you are praying, and your mind thinks of something you need to do, it’s easy to get up and go do that thing. Enter the squirrel chart. The squirrel chart is this: if something pops into your head when you’re praying and you think you’ll forget, write it in your squirrel notes.
(The idea of the squirrel is for when a dog is doing something and then they whip suddenly because they see a squirrel. We humans can get just as easily distracted as well.) We made a squirrel chart for you here if you want to print it out, or click the image below!
Prayer for Focus FAQ’s
What is a focused prayer?
A focused prayer is kingdom-focused. It is knowinf that God is almighty and able to do anything, and yet He takes the time to come down to listen to us. Thus, we make sure that we intentionally talk to God knowing He is listening.
How do you pray for mental clarity?
The best way to pray for mental clarity is to use God's word. Turning to the Psalms is a great way to put all sorts of emotions into words.
How do I stay focused on God?
The best way to stay focused on God is to first recognize that we are human and we won't solve this issue overnight. Pick one incredibly simple way to turn to God, and try it for 3 weeks until it becomes a habit. Then, add a second way. Keep doing this until more of your life points to God than not.
Prayer for focus on studying
We have found that many people that text our prayer line have asked for focus on studying. My favorite prayer is actually the same prayer for focus at work, so see that section.
But another thing to keep in mind when looking for a prayer for focus on studying is being honest with God about where you are struggling. Give it all to Him, and then leave it with Him so your mind space can be focused on studying instead of worrying.
Prayer for focus and strength
Lord, we know that you give strength to the weary and that you increase the power of the weak (Isaiah 40:29). Well, right now I am weak God. I don’t need my strength, I need your strength. I know that is how power truly increases when I rely on you. I come here today humbly asking for there to be more of you and less of me (John 3:30). Amen!
Prayer for focus and direction
Lord, I know it is not for me to establish my steps, but You alone (Jeremiah 10:23). We know that you delight in this way (Psalm 37:23) and there is nothing You love more than guiding us. I ask for help today in surrendering my focus and my direction to You. May You pick up the pieces of where I am and put them on a godly path that only You can. May it be so profoundly different than my normal focus that people ask and I can direct them to you. In your mighty name, we pray, Amen!
Prayer for focus at work
I did not find this prayer. It was instead shared with me at a time when I needed it the most. My friend and I work on other sites together, and she sent this to me to help us with a prayer for focus. I was blown away by the results.
We have the prayer below in printable version here.
Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom,
have established three hierarchies of angels,
have arrayed them in marvellous order
above the fiery heavens,
and have marshalled the regions of the universe
with such artful skill,
You are proclaimed
the true font of light and wisdom,
and the primal origin
raised high beyond all things.
Pour forth a ray of Your brightness
into the darkened places of my mind;
disperse from my soul
the twofold darkness
into which I was born:
sin and ignorance.
You make eloquent the tongues of infants.
Refine my speech
and pour forth upon my lips
the goodness of Your blessing.
Grant to me
keenness of mind,
capacity to remember,
skill in learning,
subtlety to interpret,
and eloquence in speech.
guide the beginning of my work,
direct its progress,
and bring it to completion.
You Who are true God and true Man,
Who live and reign, world without end.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Published in the Raccolta #764, Pius XI Studiorum Ducem, 1923
Prayer for focus and motivation
Lord, I know that this will has tribulation. Help me take heart and know that You have already overcome the world (John 16:33). Help that alone be motivation for me to not just push distractions to the side, but instead hand them to You. Let me let go of worry and replace it with godly motivation to do what I am doing to best carry out Your work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for focus on God
Dear God, I know that I will find you when I seek you with all my heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Sometimes that is easier said than done, but I know I can do it with Your help. To seek you with my whole heart, remove anything from my life that drives me away from You, and use everything good in my life to turn my ways to You. Amen!
Other short prayers if you need a prayer for focus
If I am looking for a short prayer for focus, I like to use verses straight from the Bible. That way, I can memorize them as I pray them. I usually change some of the prepositions to make it a personal prayer, so I have a link to each actual Bible verse in parentheses. All scripture is NIV unless otherwise stated.
Short prayers of praise
I have found that when I am looking for a prayer for focus, praising God helps re-orient me. I also find those praying prayers of praise is a great way to appeal to God, as it is often done in the Psalms.
- Great is your love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. (Psalm 117:2)
- Lord, grant me success! (Psalm 118:25)
- I will exalt you, my God the King! (Psalm 145:1)
All of these work as quick prayers for focus to help re-orient you. Sometimes we try for long flowery prayers, when it is the short and abrupt ones that help us the most.
Lord, snap me out of it!
It sounds silly, but once you try it a few times, you will feel what the Psalmists felt- short sentences can be powerful. Especially when it comes to finding a prayer for focus. Try this, or any of the others above to help with focus and direction in your prayer life and beyond!
Also, if you struggle to focus, try this mini-ebook of 5 ways to focus in prayer!
Jessie Synan is a Master’s student in Theological Studies who helps other women find their prayer focus in a distracting world. She went from her ADHD interfering with her prayer life to finding her own unique rhythms for prayer and encouraging other women to do the same. She is the founder of Pray With Confidence, which has helped over 5000 women focus on prayer through the real and vulnerable advice she gives to those on her email list when they sign up for the free guide “How to pray [when you can’t focus.]”