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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Brother Lawrence – Managing Minds & Distractions in Prayer

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Brother Lawrence, Dan Burke, Meditations, Practicing Presence, Prayer

BrotherLawrence_300x400Reverend and very honored Mother,

You are not writing anything new to me. You are not the only one agitated in thoughts. Our mind is extremely fickle, but since the will is master of all our powers, it must call back the mind and carry it to God as its final goal.

When the mind has not been brought down at the outset, and has a few wicked habits of straying and wasting time, these habits are difficult to conquer. They usually draw us, in spite of ourselves, back to the things of earth. I believe that a remedy for this is to admit our faults and humble ourselves before God.

I advise you not to pray aloud much during your fixed times of prayer. Long speeches often become an occasion for straying. Hold yourself before God as a poor mute, unable to talk, or as a paralytic at the door of a rich man. Busy yourself with keeping your mind in the presence of the Lord. If it strays and withdraws sometimes, do not worry about it. Worrying only serves to distract the mind rather than to call it back to God. The will must recall it gently. If you persevere in this way, God will have mercy on you.

One way to call your mind easily back to God during your fixed prayer times and to hold it more steady, is not to let it take much flight during the day. You must keep it strictly in the presence of God. As you become used to doing that over and over in your mind, it will be easy to remain at peace during your prayer times, or at least to recall your mind from its wanderings…

Your very humble servant,

Brother Lawrence

Taken from the eighth letter of “Practicing the Presence of God

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • faith in him

    Thank you, this is extremely helpful.

  • Oh Brother Lawrence, God bless you. Thank you for your advice. Mary is the sufferer of wandering mind during the day. I lose things, I forget what I was going to collect in the next room when I get there. I forget names of people I have known all my life. Oh, it is very frustrating.

    When I come to prayer time,it is pure torture. It seems all the devils come out to ensure all kinds of distracting thoughts are competing for space in my mind and I lose track of my prayers. I have to keep on struggling to pull my mind back from distractions and continue with my prayers. I will take your advice to heart and plead with Jesus to help me in this warfare. On my own, I will forever be struggling and getting nowhere.

  • fran

    Prayer is a gift from God. Pls keep asking God for his help. THe fact that you recognize the need for Him is good.
    Easy prayer – the Jesus Prayer. Check out the book “the Way of a Pilgrim” it really works.

  • Thank you, Fran. Yesk I pray every day before the Blessed Sacrament during my daily Holy Adoration Hour and I have complete faith, by and by, He will assist me. Meantime, please pray for me

  • fran

    Mary, I will lift you in prayer. Pls pray for me too.

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