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Monthly Reflection

Reflections on Prayer

Part 2

Anyone who has ever really tried to pray reflectively knows about distractions and how frustrating they can be.  I'm talking about those pesky thoughts that come barreling into our minds when we try to become still and quiet for any length of time.  For me, they usually show up about one and a half minutes into my time with God. 

St. Teresa of Avila struggled with distractions for almost twenty years before God led her into a way of great interior communion.  She suggested to her novices that they hold a picture of Jesus when they prayed so that they could remember that they were talking to a person in prayer and not just making a mental exercise.

The advice I have found most helpful is to imagine distractions as if they were a train crossing through a valley. The train comes into view and will pass on through the valley without our effort. In prayer, we would acknowledge the distraction lightly and then return to prayer as the distraction drifts out of our consciousness.

Trying to push distractions out usually only makes them more persistent and "getting on the train", well, then we know where that leads.  There may be times when a certain distraction keeps coming. This could be a sign that this is exactly what the Lord wants us to pray about. In the end, though, for most of us distractions come with the territory. 


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