How to deal with distractions during prayer, according to St. Therese of Lisieux

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The “Little Flower” offers her simple advice for those struggling with distractions in the midst of prayer.

For many of us, when we sit down to pray, we are bombarded by constant distractions. It could be anything from the ticking of the clock on the wall, the honking of a horn outside, or even a barrage of thoughts about various people or relationships in our lives.

It can be difficult to focus our attention on God and remain in a conversation with him.

However, sometimes these distractions aren’t “distractions” at all, they are thoughts introduced by God that are aimed at our spiritual benefit.

For example, here is what St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote about being distracted during prayer.

I also have many [distractions] but as soon as I am aware of them, I pray for those people the thought of whom is diverting my attention, and in this way they reap benefit from my distractions.

Sometimes God wants to divert our attention and shed light on a struggling friend or family member. They may need our prayers or our charity. This way the distraction is turned in the right way and instead of taking us away from God, it brings us closer to him and his divine plan.

The key is to be attentive when that happens and notice when you being thinking about someone in your life, or even something you saw on Facebook. In some instances God may want you to be praying for that individual or extending a helpful hand to them.

St. Josemaria Escriva instructs us that, “The closer an apostle is to God, the more universal his desires. His heart expands and takes in everybody and everything in its longing to lay the universe at the feet of Jesus.

So the next time you feel distracted during prayer, offer it to God and open your heart to whatever God wants to communicate to you in that moment.

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