Prayerful Attention Deficit Disorder.
Do you have it? I do. Essentially it means that I can’t keep my mind focused on my prayers. I start talking to God about something and almost immediately my mind wanders off and I’m no longer talking to God. Instead, I’m thinking about how to handle the situation that I was praying about or I start planning the class that I want God to help me with or whatever.
If my memory is correct, CS Lewis once wrote that silent prayer (praying in one’s thoughts) practiced through out the day is an advanced form of the discipline. He went on to say that he personally saw the real benefit of kneeling in prayer (a practice he saw as an elementary one) because it kept him in a proper frame of mind. I think he was right as I tend to experience my PADD while trying to pray silently in the shower, in the car and other “public” spaces.
Yesterday, I actually went into a private office, closed (and locked) the door and prayed aloud. Apart from the two phone calls that distracted me (and I had to answer), I found that I had no trouble keeping my mind on God and the subject of my prayer.
I guess it’s sometimes necessary to revisit the basics.