Distractions in Prayer

Becky Eldredge and Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, sat down this summer for a conversation about Ignatian spirituality. In this video on distractions in prayer, Becky notes that, “God works in distractions too. And eventually the stillness will come.”


  1. Prayer is not just being still and having this direct communication with God in perfect solitude and concentration. I have always connected with whatever I do as my prayer to God and really, whether in stillness or in action, trust that God’s presence through the Holy Spirit will be there. And you are right Becky, the more you fight it, the more distracted you just become. Thank you for sharing with us this reflection.

  2. Just last night during my reflection on this subject matter, I didn’t see peace within my silence and I felt I didn’t have its full concentration on my prayer and wanting to quit. But I noticed that those sudden change of mood bring me to go down deeper to where I was being disturbed in my prayer, and the subject of my prayer, what I asked for that He would grant it in my life. Over and over again I start to examine my self and process the prayer so I may come to the same level of peace I have experienced before, but none.
    Today, in the morning, unaware of everything that i’d been praying, I saw the traces of God’s answer. Through the green grass that have grown back in my backyard again. He speaks clearly that I can see the answer to my my prayer in the nature around that i see if I continue to just go down deeper to seek His answer..
    Thanks Becky.

  3. I went to adoration, and I sat down and began to pray, my mind was full of distractions- buzzing noise and overlapping thoughts happening- like concerns about friends and family members, and list of errands and chores to do. Having read and listen to this particular post –before going to adoration- I, for the first time have allowed God to work through my distractions- since I’m clueless on how to take off distractions in my thoughts anyway. I did not fight it but rather submitted myself to God’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. I decided to trust Him- to put order in my thoughts. After a few minutes, calmness in my thoughts and in my heart came. I felt God lifted all my distractions- able to enter into stillness before Him- and brought me to a new level of trusting Him- working through distractions in my prayers.
    Thank you for this post!

    • So thankful this post helped you during your time in adoration, and I am thankful that God gifted you with the grace of stillness as you leaned into your trust of God!

  4. I really enjoyed the insight into my prayer life by watching this video. I especially appreciated the conversation when it pointed out that many times we pray and do not even realize we are praying. I have believed for quite awhile that when people suddenly enter my thoughts and I think of them it as if I prayed for them. Although that does not excuse me from praying for them formally.
    Thanks again,
    Grace and PEACE,

  5. Some of the most fruitful prayer time I have is when I am physically busy, while busying my mind thinking about situations, how they/I relate to God, and often find myself entering into a dialogue with God in so doing. As well, there are often what I call “hits from God” when something suddenly becomes crystal clear, an insight that might be instructional, or critical. In the end, these interactions are not unlike the still quiet prayer we might think of as being the only valid type. Ultimately, all communication with God is prayer.

    • Jean, your words reminded me of a religious sister who once said sometimes you have to use “puttering prayer” as your method of prayer. What she meant was there are times when sitting completely still is not the best method for us, especially during a really hard time of life. However, we can putter around and complete small tasks, and when we find our minds wandering to God, we acknowledge it and then let the moment continue on.

      • Thank you – I like that term “puttering prayer”. I have to confess to also engaging in “muttering prayer”, as well in which I gripe and complain to God (because no one else will put up with listening to me). During one such rant the scripture verse popped into my head “Be still and know that I am God”, so I knew I was being heard as well as counseled. I will take your advice passed on from that religious sister. Much appreciated!

  6. Wonderful acknowledgment of the realities of prayer. When I don’t sense an immediate connection I find it helpful to just concentrate on a few words or an idea from a written prayer or scripture and look for the meaning of them in my life. I’ve learned in a brief period of time in going through the 19th annotation Spiritual Exercises that they are truly like physical exercise. I wrestled in college and I always did better an hour into practice than at the beginning. The hour “warm up” period got me in the flow. Such is the way with prayer, I need to warm up – although not for an hr.

    • Charlie, often that warm-up period helps us enter more fully into prayer! Even when we do not feel God after that warm-up period, we must push on, as I am sure you did many times in wrestling!

  7. Very encouraging! I’m so glad you mentioned nature and observing it as a form of prayer. I often think that the natural world is the second ‘Word of God.’ I can’t carry the Bible around all day but I can look around me – at the natural world and at the faces of those around me. All is grace….and prayer.

    • Barbara, nature is a powerful place of prayer for me also. It stems back from watching my own parents soak in God through their outdoor surroundings.
      I like how you said, “all is grace”!

  8. Becky,
    Thank you so much for this encouraging conversation with Paul. When I experience the dry times, I often wonder if I’m just not trying hard enough and in this video you have given me the affirmation I need. This statement especially resonates with me: “The desire for God in itself is prayer.”

    • Lynda, thankfully God never steps seeking a relationship with us, and thankfully, God acts in our desires also! I pray that you find peace in the dry period right now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here