If you find yourself constantly distracted when trying to speak with God, use this simple remedy.
Often we will find ourselves hoping to spend some quality time in prayer, only to find our mind racing through a number of random topics that have nothing to do with God. It can be frustrating, as we honestly want to pray, but are simply too distracted.
One of the most common errors we all commit is in thinking that prayer is similar to a phone call where we pick up the phone, dial a phone number and wait for God to pick up on the other side. With this conception, we are the ones who initiate prayer and God is the one who needs to respond.
If we don’t hear God pick up the phone, our mind immediately starts to seek out entertainment and is bored with waiting for God to answer our prayer.
However, this mindset needs to be corrected as we are never the initiators of prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:
God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer … God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. (CCC 2567)
What we often forget is that God is always knocking at our door. He wants us to pray and is already there waiting for us. He revealed this same truth in the Gospel of John when Jesus said, “You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you” (John 15:16).
In reality, the phone analogy goes the other way. When we go to pray, it is like picking up a phone that has been ringing all day long. God has been calling us to prayer and is already there on the other side.
This is something we don’t consider enough. It is too easy to think of prayer as our own initiative and expect God to respond to our needs. We fail to realize that our prayer is actually a response to God’s love and that any petition we have is something that God has been waiting to hear.
The reason why changing our thoughts about prayer in this way can eliminate most distractions is because even before we enter into prayer, we recognize that God is waiting for us. When we enter into prayer with this mindset, we let God be in control and imagine him already there in the room with us, patiently waiting.
This gets our time of prayer off to a good start, recognizing God’s presence and his desire to communicate his love for us. Instead of grasping for God’s presence, we receive his presence and know that he is there and wants to tell us something that, day after day, will forever change our lives.
Overwhelmed with distractions? Chase them away with this prayer of Thomas Kempis
How to deal with distractions during prayer, according to St. Therese of Lisieux