Lists and Prayers

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Ph 4:8


Shut up, already!!   Can you just be silent for a nanosecond?


How do I listen for God’s answers to my quiet prayers when my brain won’t stop talking?


How can my lips be closed but my inner voice scream?


Have you heard the creed of “be silent in prayer—listen for God’s answer?”   I have, too.  But many times over, I fail miserably!  I do my best to clear my head.  I do my best to silence the voices.  I do my best to will away the inner calendar of events.




“Dear Lord, I humbly come to you……”, what should I make for dinner?  “Sorry, Lord, I’m back, I pray for…….,” ughwas the parent/teacher meeting tonight or tomorrow?  “Oh no Lord, I’m sorry.  Ok, I will be silent and let you speak to me.  Go ahead.  Yes Lord, I’m listening….” I need to pick up dog food.


Do you have these voices?   Am I the only one?   Do you squeeze your eyes closed and will yourself into prayer time, yet come out of it more frazzled than when you started?


Sometimes, my inner voices are louder than God’s voice. I think God knows this.  He anticipated this.  He provided.


Phillipians 4:8 is His provision.


Think about what is good.  Think about what is pure.  Think about what is right.  


God knows our voices are loud. God knows our calendars fill up quickly.  God certainly knows our earthly responsibilities get in the way.   Yet, He gives us the filler for the in-between times of deep prayer, and the hectic schedules we call life.


The filler, as I call it, are for the times when we can’t escape to a monastery.  The filler, is when life happens. The filler, replaces the misguided prayers with the pure thoughts.  The filler—the wonderful words of Phillipians 4:8.


Do you see it?  If our everyday, all-the-time, habitual thoughts are aligned with “whatever is pure…,” If those thoughts are on “whatever is noble….,” If our minute-to-minute thoughts are seeking to find “anything that is excellent…..”, than that is where we will come back to when our prayer time seems cluttered.

It is like muscle memory; whatever we train our bodies to do over and over and over again, that is what will happen when we need to act.  Our thoughts are no different.


Prayer time is a must.  One-on-one time with God is a must.  Sure it is.  But always?—every minute?  I may be breaking the Christian rulebook here, but I don’t think short of living like a monk, everyday is comprised of constant deep prayer.  (Did I just lose my membership?)


But ,what if…?  What would our lives look like if we built our thoughts around Ph 4:8, day in and day out?  Wouldn’t our actions have a completely different outcome?  Wouldn’t our prayer time stop getting us twisted up like a pretzel?  We could relax a bit more in the times that the calendar entries push more to the forefront than listening for God’s voice.  As long as the stuff that replaces His voice is pleasing to Him, shouldn’t we make that our goal?


When we are obedient in His word, His voice will be heard.  Sometimes, it just may not be when you’re filling out the grocery list.  And I think that’s ok!



  1. Will you make Philipians 4:8 your mantra for the week?  You don’t even have to open a Bible—just scroll back up to the top of this page to read the verse.
  2. Instead of trying to quiet the brain-noise, replace the thoughts with what Apostle Paul wrote.
  3. Do we know what is true, noble, right, pure, etc?   Not based on the world’s definition, but God’s?
  4. Surprise yourself (and God) and take just a few moments to think about what is praiseworthy.  Don’t pray.  Don’t ask for anything from God.  Don’t even thank Him for the blessings—just think about and meditate on that which is praiseworthy.   Try it; I think you will be as surprised as I was when I gave it a whirl. A few moments just may change your perspective this week.


I’d love to hear about your day or week. Did your thoughts change once you focused on what Paul wrote?  Did a bad situation turn good because pure, true, noble, excellent….thoughts, took their place?   I really am curious! Let me know.


To leave a comment, click in the comment section directly below this post.

4 Replies

  1. Cissy

    Wow Renae, reading this just had to share with Michael. He was crackin’ up! He can totally relate to distracted prayer. He has told me about this many times and I knew he would appreciate it. He thinks of oil changes, lawn fertilizing schedules and a thousand other things. When he finally just sits down, closes his eyes and tries to get in to a deep quiet connection with God, he wakes up an hour later!!! No prayer offered but well rested! Distraction is one of satans’ most common tools. He doesn’t let this discourage him though. He just keeps on talking with his heavenly Dad knowing that nothing he does surprises Him and as long as he stays connected to Him with the best prayer life he can offer right now it’s good and will only get better. As Francis Chan writes in his book Crazy Love, it’s when you stop swimming that you start floating back downstream. I am sure we will both try and refocus our thoughts when they stray, thanks for the verse!

    1. That is a great story! I don’t feel so alone in my crazy “head voices.” Mike is right, we can do our best to go into prayer but sometimes we come out of it with a great nap under our belts! And that is a good thing! If we stop getting ourselves all worked up over this stuff and concentrate on living His Word, I believe that is greatest act of obedience. Give Mike a big hug and hello for me and thank you for giving us that story. Blessings.

  2. lori perez

    I was so happy to sit down and read what you had wrote about today. Pray is something that I have been struggling with. Not so much because I don’t pray but because when I do not sure if the Lord is talking to be or not. for an example have been praying whether or not to stay in this house or look for something else and I have been praying about it so much but I don’t feel like I am hearing God tell me what to do. but now that I am going to remember Philipians 4:8 and just keep remembering that. sometimes I want to actually hear His voice so that I know for sure that it is what God wants. so many times I read about someone hearing God tell them what to do. Are they really hearing Him or is it just a medifor?

    1. I join you Lori in wanting to hear God’s voice–wouldn’t that be great on a daily basis? I am hoping that focusing on the verses of Ph 4:8 will get us through those times that we can’t sit down and have a conversation on our terms. As Dory kept telling Nemo to “just keep swimming”, so too we must “just keep praying.” Thanks for stopping by this post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.