True consolation and encouragement from a friend of God.
from Essence of Prayer
Sr. Ruth Burrows, OCD
. . . I do not think readers would want to be bored to tears by an account of what goes on in my head during prayer! Distractions are my unfailing companions at prayer; but I have learned that prayer doesn't go on in the head, in the brain-box, but in that secret heart that is choosing to pray and to remain in prayer no matter what it feels like or seem like to me. I am totally convinced that our God, the God we see in Jesus, is all-Love, all-Compassion and, what is more, is all-Gift; is always offering God's own Self as our perfect fulfilment. I believe, through Jesus, that we were made for this and that it is divine Love's passion to bring it to perfect fulfilment in us. So when I set myself t pray I am basing myself on this faith and refuse to let it go. I just take it for granted that, because God is the God of Jesus, all-Love, who fulfils every promise, this work of love is going on, purifying and gradually transforming me. What I actually experience on my conscious level is quite unimportant. In fact, I experience nothing except my poor, distracted self.
If one lives in close acquaintance with silence and has time set aside for prayer and contemplation and still goes to find distraction, it would seem that distraction is the human condition of prayer. I suspect there isn't a person in the world, saint or sinner, who goes to prayer without distractions. Distractions are part of our nature--they are the rambunctious child who lives on within us even when we have outgrown that child's body. They are not a sign of deficiency, but they are an evidence of our utter dependence upon God to accomplish prayer in us. We must go willing and mindful of the fact that we will accomplish nothing whatsoever on our own. We go nevertheless, not because we are setting out to accomplish, but because we are obedient to the discipline that will foster the growth that the Father wishes to accomplish in us.
So, instead of worrying about distraction in prayer, focus instead upon being present in the prayer, letting the distractions play around us and letting God encounter us as we are--distracted, weak, and child-like. He will not fail us, this great God of Love and Father of us all. When our will is His, however weakly, He will make the best of it and the best of us.