“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Do you feel frustrated when you sit down to pray and your mind is cluttered with distractions? Do you think the clutter is really clutter or a distraction or is it there for a reason? Does this clutter or distraction have a purpose in that moment, in your prayer? What is God inviting you to discover?
Many years ago, I remember walking into my very first meeting with my spiritual director and telling her that I couldn’t pray, my mind was cluttered with all this stuff. Her response to me was – perhaps you should bring this clutter into your prayer.
I had to chuckle today as I was reading today’s message in “An Ignation book of days” by Jim Manney. It was exactly this topic – What to do about distractions. There was a quote from the book “Finding God in All Things” that said exactly what my spiritual director had mentioned to me about 5 years ago – “make the distraction the content of [your] prayer, to hear God’s word in this person, situation, whatever it might be.”
For me during that time period, prayer was a place I went to in order to remove myself from what was going on in my life. It was my escape, my refuge from my life. I felt so at peace in my prayer time. In other words, my moments in prayer FELT GOOD. They were shear moments of me conversing with God about how He was moving me internally at the time. At the time, He was helping me move through a key time in my life, so I think that I needed to feel this refuge and fortress from my life -this inner peace, comfort and protection. So when the clutter hit, it through me for a loop. It didn’t feel peaceful or comforting – it was far from GOOD. I know today, it was God inviting me to deal with the things that were cluttering my life, not just my mind.
Over the years, I still feel uncomfortable when a ton of things fill my prayer time that I don’t intend to bring to prayer. I want my prayer time to be peaceful, to just bask in the presence of God.
As I have grown in my faith journey, I have come to realize that this is me placing God in a box. When I am frustrated with the clutter, I’m not happy with inviting God to do some of the conversing.
Prayer is a key part of our relationship with God. In fact it is the kick of flavor in our recipe of our faith journey. Just as in our earthly relationships we have to allow the other person to do some of the conversing. We can’t always monopolize the conversation or we won’t really have a great relationship with that person. When we control or monopolize our prayer time, it is no different than taking the steering wheel from God in our life and directing what we want in our relationship with God and not what He may be inviting us to.
Listening is necessary in any relationship, especially the one we have with God. Next time, you feel distracted in prayer, listen to what God is inviting you to bring to the conversation and deal with in your life. It could be the next best thing in your life, a golden opportunity in your journey of life.
I love this song “King of the World” by Natalie Grant. It speaks volumes to me when I’m trying to control my life, especially what goes on in my moments of prayer. May God always be the King of your world.