All posts tagged: distraction

Prayer Begins in Pointlessness and Stupidity

A friend of mine, a young mother, recently wrote me to ask me a question about prayer. Are not most of our prayers stupid and pointless? She recounted how she had locked her keys and children in the car, and found herself praying, “God, please may my husband be able come quickly so I can take care of the screaming baby.” But of course he did not come any quicker than the car and speed of traffic and nature of mobile bodies etc. determined. So why ask God about this at all? Is this not just useless chatter? How should one respond to such a question? Certainly, I think that there can be a great deal of stupidity in prayer. Prayer begins in pointlessness and stupidity, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom 8:26). But prayer is a path, the stupidity and pointlessness can be a step toward a deeper kind of prayer.  Aquinas compares asking things of other human beings and praying to God (Compendium of Theology II,2). When we …

Dealing with Distractions in Prayer

I don’t think that I’m wrong to say that we wish both to pray and to feel ourselves to be in prayer but that we blame “distractions” for not allowing us to achieve one or both of these aims. I do believe, however, that we are rather mistaken, in various ways, about what these “distractions” are and what they could mean to us. It might just be that distractions are far from being completely negative. I suppose it is obvious that we do no really serious prayer in the middle of a committee meeting, or when we are helping kids with their homework, or doing anything whatever that needs our full attention and thought. While that is not entirely true, for reasons and in ways that I won’t go into here, on the whole we do at least need to ground our prayer in a habitual time and situation when we can block out those exterior concerns and really focus only on being completely and intimately open to the most important Persons in our lives. …