Tips for Concentrating on Sermons During Challenging Seasons

How much of the sermon do you remember each Sunday after you walk away from church? Could you have a conversation about it? Do you know what you need to apply to your own life?

There are some seasons of life where it’s really hard to concentrate on the sermon, let alone remember what you heard later on… Seasons where you have babies and young children, or when you are personally finding it hard to focus.

I’m going to share what has helped me to listen and comprehend the sermon during these more challenging seasons – some of these tips will be more aimed at the challenge of tending to young kids, and others will address more general issues with concentration span. Take what you need!

Ask God to open your mind and heart to His word

If concentration is an issue for you, or even just frustration at not being able to listen, take this concern to God. Pray before you go to church that God will help you to focus during the sermon, that He will align your heart to His desires, and that He will give you peace and contentment with however the day goes. Give thanks for your pastor and pray that he will be able to preach with clarity, conviction, and biblical truth.
God longs for us to take our worries to Him and rest in Him. He has the desire for you to grow as a Christian woman through hearing the word preached. So pray about this struggle and God will supply your needs!

Read or listen to the Bible passage in advance

Reading the Bible passage before you get to church will help you to concentrate on the sermon more because the words will be fresh in your mind. Even if you’re distracted during the sermon, you will find it easier to follow what is being said from the front when you’ve been reading the passage ahead of time.
My church circulates a newsletter with the Bible passages being preached on for the next 4 weeks. If yours doesn’t, you could always ask the minister for a copy of the preaching roster. 

Take notes

Taking notes during the sermon can really help you retain more of what is being preached. Even if you never read back over your notes, the concentration required to write down the main points and the act of writing itself will help you to remember more.

I’ve been a note-taker since I was a teenager, but I did go through a long period where this wasn’t possible because my hands were occupied with tending to my kids. Thankfully, I am now able to take notes again most of the time (even if I do often have “help” decorating the pages of my notebook). 

Re-listen to the sermon later in the week

Most churches these days record the sermon and share it later on the church website. If you get to the end of the church service and feel like you didn’t really take in much of the sermon, or you can’t remember the main point, go back and listen to it later in the week when you have a quiet moment.
My favourite time for listening to sermons, podcasts or audiobooks is when I’m doing some kind of manual housework, like folding clothes or washing dishes. While it is important to receive the weekly sermon in corporate worship with our congregation, being able to listen to it later is such a gift made possible by modern technology. We should take advantage of that and use it as needed!

Take heart

If you’re in a stage where you just don’t hear much of the sermon; you feel like you don’t get much out of it; you’re busy wrangling kids; or your attention span is fried – take heart. Remember that the Lord will sustain your faith, and even if you don’t feel like it, He is right there, faithfully making you more like Jesus every day. Cling to Him and seek Him with all your heart. Keep seeking to know and love God more everyday, and there will come a time when you can concentrate on the sermon more. You won’t be in this season forever!


You might like to read:
7 Ways You Can Be a Blessing to Your Local Church

Practical Ways to Encourage the Mums in your Community

Is Motherhood Meaningful Work?

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