Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I think it would be safe to say that I am one who is easily distracted.  I'm one of those people who you complain about that goes out to eat with the family and is constantly looking their phone.  I might be looking at Facebook, Googling something that came up in conversation or looking at a sports score.   People have teased me because I'll be having a conversation with them while watching a movie and playing a game on my phone.  Heck, back in the day before smartphones and I had Motorola Razor and I could feel the buttons---I could be looking at you and be conversing with you and have my phone down at my side and texting someone else.

So, prayer is very difficult for me.   It's difficult for me to sit in a quiet place and talk to God when I'm not sure He is listening.   And that whole "be quiet and listen" thing?  Not a chance.  I wish I could be some great mystic who has this great relationship with God and talks to Him and know what He wants or what He is thinking.   I fully realize that you have to work at prayer in order to have a good prayer life.  Just like everything in life---if you want something, you have to work for it.

That's easy to say but it is more difficult to put into practice especially when you cannot sit still for a moment.What are these distractions really though??  Distractions are things keeping us from God.   They may be distractions in prayer keeping me from talking with God.   They can also be things of this world that we seek in placement of God.  

I heard someone say, and I don't remember who, that everything we long for in life are actually substitutions for God.  It is truly Him that we are after but in His place we long for that new car or that vacation or some other thing instead.   This person said that when we long for something in this world that we should refocus ourselves onto God instead.

I find it difficult to even lay down and go to sleep most of the time.  How I wish I could go to sleep as fast as my wife---it seems that as soon as she closes her eyes she is a asleep.  I toss and turn, thinking about different things.  I even have different "daydreams" that I think about when I'm trying to put myself to sleep.  I have different scenarios that help remove me from reality in order to shut my brain down.

So, I've been trying this.  When I'm bored and can't focus I'll stop what I'm doing and try to refocus on God.   It's only been the past few days that I've been trying it so I can't report to you and tell you how it's working so far and I can say that I've only used it when I've caught myself daydreaming.    I'll have some scenario running through my head where I'm saving the world or something and I'll refocus myself and either think about God or enter a prayerful moment.

I get frustrated because I know I want God's love.  I get frustrated because I want to be pleasing to God.  And now I get frustrated because I recognize that these distractions are my substitutions for God because I've experienced replacing those distractions with prayerful times with God and realize that they do make me happier. But yet...... Those distractions still come up. I still fail to always put God number one in my life.  I still choose sin.  


  1. A priest once told me to liken learning to pray to the way I get myself in physical shape. I don't start too big...often something like alternating walking/running or something and I don't go too long. And I gradually increase the intensity and the time until I get to a good routine. He said to try that with prayer...That maybe I start by spending 5 minutes in true attentive prayer and maybe start with something simple like a Morning offering or an Evening prayer. Then, gradually increase the intensity and time. Basically, don't start off with Liturgy of the could be a recipe for disaster.

    I hope you're able to find a way to increase your time with God...only because it seems you want to. And if you want to...God will help you find a way.

  2. Jamie I have the same problem as you. My wife is always yelling at me because I'm looking up something we just talked about or responding to some work email because I figure if I deal with it now I won't have to tomorrow, or reading some book, or checking up on the Cardinals (I'm from north central MO originally and my mom grew up in St Louis).

    The one difference we have is that I can sit quietly if I really try but that doesn't mean my mind is quiet and that's the problem I have. I started trying to just listen to one or two of the Daily Office prayers on my 45 minute drive to work or maybe listen to the rosary as I drive and I often catch myself sometimes as little as a minute into it thinking about something related to work, or some difficulty at home we've been dealing with, or how we are going to pay this or that bill. I try to pull myself back and sometimes it lasts a bit longer but it can be a real effort.

    There was a book I read and of course now I cant remember the name of it but the basic premise of the book is talking about how if we could get even 1% more of the Catholic world actively involved in our faith how much that could change the world. One of the topics he addresses is prayer life and he suggests a method much like what has already been suggested.

    Set out a specific place that you know as your prayer place even if it is just some chair in a quiet corner of your house. And start out small with a short prayer, or reading a few lines of scripture and thinking about it for five minutes, or reading a good Catholic book for ten minutes. Then as you go over time you increase your time limit and you will fine that you almost yearn for that time.

    I wont say I'm great at it because like you I still often struggle but trying is half the battle.

  3. I think the book that you are taking about is "Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic" by Matthew Kelly.

    1. Yep that's it! I was racking my brain to try and remember, it was on the tip of my tongue but I just couldn't come up with it.