Learning how to pray when you’re distracted takes practice! Use these mindful prayer tips to stay focused and connected to God when you’re praying. In fact, I invite you to go beyond “praying to God”! Instead, savor your connection with your Lord and Creator — read my second tip for details.
If you get distracted when you pray, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Here’s what one famous devout preacher said about his prayer life:
“I neglect God for the buzzing of a fly, for the creaking of a door, for the rattle of a coach in the street.” ~ John Donne.
Donne was an Anglican priest who knew firsthand what it’s like to connect to God in a distracting world. If you, too, struggle with staying focused when praying, read A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World.
And here are a few practical tips for praying with your whole heart and mind and soul…
How to Pray When You’re Distracted – Mindful Prayer Tips
Accept that you get distracted while praying. If you fight or try to move away from your distraction, then you’ll just become more distracted! Resisting your distraction only magnifies it, prolongs it, makes it worse. So, instead of working feverishly to overcome your distraction, try accepting that you are distracted. Accept your lack of focus. Tell yourself, “Feelings of distraction while praying are normal. It’s okay for me to feel this way.”
Savor your connection with God. Christians – and everyone who reaches their hearts and souls to God – are truly blessed and privileged to be able to communicate with such Holiness! And if we live in a country that allows us the freedom to pray and worship in public or our own homes without fear or condemnation, then we’re even more blessed. Prayer shouldn’t be a duty, or something we “should” do. Praying to God benefits our minds, bodies, and souls in so many ways – it is so good and healthy for us. To pray when you’re distracted, focus on savoring and tasting and reveling in your connection with God. Connecting with the Almighty through prayer is a blessing to be enjoyed and revered.
Practice being “in the moment.” This is one of the most difficult prayer tips for me; in fact, it’s one of my most challenging life tips! I’m a multitasker, and I love creating, planning, making lists, and forging ahead. My enthusiasm and energy can decrease my experience of being “in the moment.” I know I can be mindful because I’ve experienced mindfulness in the past…and I also know it takes time and practice. Like anything worthwhile, right? Practice may not make us perfect, but it sure helps.
Learn how to pray with your whole heart. Centering prayer involves choosing a sacred word or phrase that keeps your mind focused and your heart at peace. When you notice your mind wandering during prayer, gently bring yourself back to God by saying your sacred word or phrase. Don’t berate yourself. Be kind and loving as you let go of the distraction and re-focus on your prayer.
Deal with the source of your distraction. This is a practical tip for mindful prayer: take care of that which is distracting you! If the buzzing fly or dripping faucet is commanding your attention, move to a different room. If you can’t stop thinking about a work or personal problem, write it down in your journal. If you have a mile-long list of things to do, take five minutes to make a list of action steps that will help you take care of things. Sometimes the only way to pray when you’re distracted is to remove the distraction.
What are your thoughts on mindful prayer or learning how to pray when you’re distracted? I welcome you below…