Have you ever watch the show Super Nanny? A British nanny named Jo, who quite resembles Mary Poppins, comes to rescue families with very disobedient children. The kids are horrid, but the show is more for the parents than the children. The parents have fallen into enabling their kids and tend to want to befriend their kids rather than discipline them.
One of the typical routines Jo does to help the parent establish control is to create a Naughty Chair (or as she says in her thick British accent - the "noo-tee cheh"). Whenever the child misbehaves, they are told to sit in the chair until they are released. However, because the kids aren't used to discipline, they never stay in The Naughty Chair for long. A moment after Jo sits them down, they bounce right up again, chasing her back into the other room. The strung out parents look unnerved, thinking, "Well what now?" but Jo patiently walks the kid back to the chair and sits them down again. This routine repeats over and over until a miracle happens - the child realizes she is serious, and they give up and sit down in The Naughty Chair.
So, I have had a strange epiphany: my recent prayer times are like an episode of Super Nanny. As I try to focus on God during prayer, my undisciplined thoughts jump around like hyperactive kids and wander to other things, such as shopping lists and waiting laundry. I have to intentionally walk them back to God and make them sit down and behave. But they quickly rebell and soon are bouncing around the room. Often, like the worn down parents on reality TV, I think "This is pointless! They will never stay put!" But after 50 or so trips back and forth, they realize I am serious. And they often give up, and give in, and finally become still.