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

Reverend and very honored Mother,

managing our minds and distractions in prayerYou 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


Art for this post on Brother Lawrence – managing our minds and distractions in prayer: Sepia detail of Brother Lawrence in the Kitchen, author unknown, 1900, PD-Author's life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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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, the High Calling Seminary Preparation Program, 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. In 2018, he launched the annual Avila Summit held at Hanceville, Alabama. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband, father of four, and grandfather of one, the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc., a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer, speaker and pilgrimage director 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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