I try to pray, but I find myself distracted. This used to make me throw up my hands and holler in the general direction of anyone who would listen, “Well, there you have it! I just can’t do it! I’m too distracted!” Yeah, I’m a giver-upper. It’s the easy way out. I DID try, after all, and I DID fail. And, in my defense, I tried more than once.

It’s hard to say who was holding the two-by-four that hit me across the head – it might have been God himself – but at some point, out of sheer desperation, I buckled down again. I can only blame God’s grace. I had, after all, given up.

It was – it IS – slow going. Some days, I can whip through a rosary, sit down to morning devotions, have a cup of coffee, do some meditation, AND find the energy to ward off distraction long enough to pray in the evening too. Most days, though, I find myself remembering, in the midst of little people and folding laundry and running around, that I need to pray. I will sit down, clear my head, start praying, and find distractions popping up like little weeds in the spring. They’re green and beautiful at first, but given any kind of attention, they react just like dandelions on Miracle Gro.

Sometimes, I just shake my fist and tell God it’s HIS problem. “If you want time with me, God, you’re going to have to help me with these stinkin’ distractions!” And you know what? He always does. Every single time.

The distractions aren’t a sin. Being distracted isn’t a sin. God loves us – the complete person – distractions and all! Where I find the special grace in prayer is when I pull myself away from the distractions – from the endless to-do list in my head, from the ideas that pop up and must be remembered, from the interruptions by the phone – and put myself back at Jesus’ feet. The power of prayer that has most touched me lately has been the power to overcome the distractions, even while I stand in the midst of them.

Maybe you have experienced some frustration in your prayer life because of the many distractions you have around you. It’s OK. Give them to God. What matters is the effort, the trying, the slow journey to getting better. Jesus was human too. I wonder how many times he wanted to bat at the disciples and say “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE, PEOPLE! Can’t you see I’m talking to my Father?!?!” We can take a lesson from him, though, in how he went off by himself, and how he prayed often. Punctuate your day with prayer. Work through the distractions of the world and strive to bring your soul closer to the divine.