Most of us try sincerely and earnestly to pray. In spite of our efforts, we are, in a few moments, led to daydreaming, either about our conversation with someone or any of our meetings or any of our work etc. and thus get distracted from prayer. We all know that distractions are huge hindrance to our life of prayer. Hence, the question, some people ask, is, how to overcome distractions and deepen our prayer and make it productive.
I would like to share here, what I learnt from spiritual authors:
- Start prayer by first recognizing and placing yourself in God’s presence. It is very important to remember who we are praying to. It helps us to orient our mind, body and soul toward God. This is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray beginning with “Our Father in heaven”, so that we may be aware that we address our prayer to our heavenly Father.
- When distraction arises, do not feel guilty about it. As we are weak creatures, distractions are normal. God knows us well. Hence, just return to prayer, immediately after being conscious of it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes distractions in prayer as the “habitual difficulty in prayer” (Cf. CCC # 2729). In the case of continuous distraction, it is more fitting to offer the same distraction as a prayer and talk to God about it.
- If we are serious about overcoming distractions in prayer, we should be ready to avoid the place, time and posture, which would cause distractions while praying. For example, it may be difficult to pray in a place surrounded with other views and sounds; hence, it is better to choose a quiet place or go to the Church, fix our attention on the Tabernacle or on the host kept in the Monstrance for Adoration. In the same way, it is better to avoid long and meditative prayer, when we are physically tired. So also, it is better to not choose a posture, which would make us easily fall asleep.
- Praying with Scripture and making a personal conversation with God is a great way to avoid distraction. Reading and reflecting a passage from the Bible or from a helpful spiritual book would be very helpful for prayer. God speaks to us through his Word and then we speak back to him in response, like a child would listen to his/her parents and then respond.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.