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Spiritual Attention Deficit Syndrome

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

During this season of spiritual fast, I’ve discovered the necessity for spiritual focus. Unfortunately, like everyone else I can be distracted from hearing the voice of God. Staying focused on God and tuned to the frequency of His voice can be very challenging to most believers. It is no wonder many brothers and sisters go to monasteries so they can minimize spiritual distractions. Indeed, because of all the distractions we must contend with (work, social media, cell phone, tv, kids, etc.), most people suffer from spiritual attention deficit syndrome (SADS). It is because of SADS so many people are struggling to be fervent in prayer. They cannot focus their minds and spirits long enough to hear from God after presenting their petitions to Him.

Ironically, ministry can at times lead to spiritual attention deficit. That is, we become so busy doing ministry work that we do not slow down to meditate, pray and have intimate time with God. For many people living in the US, our hectic work schedule and busy lifestyles have contributed greatly to SADS. For example, many believers are working full-time jobs while raising children and going to school. Some are operating as caregivers for elderly parents in addition to working a full-time job. Some of these believers barely have time to say a popcorn prayer, let alone spending meaningful time with God in prayer.

In today’s text, the Israelites are encouraged to call on the Lord, and He will tell them great hidden things they have known. God’s plans for our lives are revealed through time and through continued communication with Him. Our level of spiritual maturity determines how much we hear from God and what hidden things He can reveal to us. Thus, we must remain sensitized to His Holy Spirit and tune to His voice so we can hear His divine revelation to us.

God answers everyone who call out to Him. Unfortunately, many people do not hear His response because they suffer from SADS. The good news is that SADS can be controlled and even cured with a few life-styles changes. First, be intentional about carving time for prayer and meditation. I recommend waking up earlier than everyone else in your house to pray and meditate so you can minimize distractions. Put away cell phones, do not respond to texts or calls, and stay away from social media and tv during that time. Find a quiet place to commune with God in Spirit and in truth.

Second, I recommend a period of spiritual fasting (start with one day per week if you’ve never fasted before). For those who cannot fast from food because of a medical condition, they can fast from tv, social media, and anything that consumes a lot of their time on a daily basis. They should spend that time of fasting to memorize a psalm, for example, or start a diary to chronicle their spiritual journey.

The Lord has revealed hidden things to me during this season of fasting, and I’m sure He will do the same for you if you call on Him. God does not want to be a mystery to His children. He wants to tell us jokes so we can laugh and maintain His joy in our lives even when we are perplexed by the issues of life. Indeed, God wants us to hear Him laugh with us, cry with us, and sing with us. Many people do not know that God likes to tell jokes—very funny jokes at that. But we don’t enjoy the Lord’s levity because we do not hear His voice and are too distracted. It is no wonder depression has become a mental health crisis even among believers.

On this day, give God an opportunity to tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. You might be pleasantly surprised at the plans God has for your future. But you must focus your mind and heart to hear from him and avoid spiritual distractions.

Questions for Personal Reflection

What do you do when you struggle to hear the voice of God?

What is distracting you from hearing God’s voice?

Prayer- Blessed Lord, please help me to neutralize all forms of spiritual distractions in my life so I can hear you tell me great and hidden things I have not known. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me refocus my mind and spirit on you when I am distracted by the things of this world.

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