Tuesday, February 14, 2017

a prayerful mind and a distracted one

Today in A Year with the Church Fathers, St John Cassian tells us about getting our minds prepared for prayer.

And he has a point. We do want to make sure that we don't lose our focus on God while we pray. If we find ourselves getting so distracted by the affairs of life that we find ourselves no longer praying, then we need to practice what he says: remove all of the distractions before we begin our prayer.

However, there is another option. When I do my prayer walk each day, I purposefully do NOT remove the distractions. Instead, I take the distractions to Him as part of my prayer. If I'm worried about work, then I lift up my work situation to God. If I'm laughing at a joke my friend told me earlier that day, I share the joke with God. If I get a text while I'm praying, I don't regard it as a distraction, but as part of the prayer. I read the text and lift up the sender and the message to God.

I don't endorse either way as better than the other. St. John Cassian's advice is sound if we find ourselves unable to pray because of distractions. But if you're able to make the "distractions" part of your prayer, then they cease to be distractions and become another aspect of your divine conversation.

God, thank You for being bigger than our distractions... however we deal with them.