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Christine Johnson discovered that the best way to handle distractions during prayer is to turn those intrusive thoughts into prayer opportunities.

I can be terribly distracted when I’m trying to pray. I know that sometimes, the distractions are things I’m too attached to—things I’m far too anxious about and that I need to relinquish control of the situation. (Not that I’m in control, and that’s probably a good deal of what makes me anxious about some things.) But I’ve taken steps to try to use these distractions that come up during prayer. 

First of all, I know that there are some things that come to mind while I’m trying to pray (especially a Rosary or Liturgy of the Hours) that I have brought to prayer before: anxiety over my adult children, financial things, that kitchen renovation that we can’t seem to get started … I could try to force the intrusion out of my mind, get focused again on the mystery of the Rosary I’m supposed to be meditating on or the psalm I’m contemplating during Morning Prayer. But I find myself failing at that again and again: that source of anxiety just stays and stays in my mind until it’s all I can think of, and suddenly I’m not even really paying attention at all to what I was doing. 

Lately, though, when I find my mind wandering to any of these kinds of things, I pause for a moment to acknowledge the intrusive thought. Once I’ve acknowledged it, I make an offering of it. 

Blessed Mother, this is worrying me. You and God know why. Please take this as a prayer for that intention.


I’m finding that it’s been easier to get back on track with my prayers if I take this simple step. I’m not forcing myself to stop thinking of what’s worrying me. I’m not ignoring it and praying all the louder (mentally, that is!), hoping the anxiety and fear will go away on their own. 

Instead, I’m treating it as a message that maybe I need to simply offer the worry up rather than try to deal with it all on my own. (And, let’s face it, that’s a huge part of my anxieties: I am trying desperately to control situations that I have absolutely no control over.) 


Click to tweet:
I’m treating worry during prayer as a message that maybe I need to simply offer the worry up rather than try to deal with it all on my own. #catholicmom

The next time you’re trying to focus on the Luminous Mysteries and an intrusive thought enters, pricking your fear and anxiety, stop and acknowledge it, offer it to the Lord, and continue on with your prayers. See if it helps you refocus the way it has been doing for me.


woman praying a Rosary with an open Bible

Copyright 2022 Christine Johnson
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