Do you ever try to pray and your mind’s inner voice speeds up and becomes tangled and twisted with fragments of broken thoughts and confusing messages? This is very typical for me. Here are some examples:
Heavenly Father, guide my heart today….I have no idea what I did with my driver’s license after they used it at the car dealership……
Deep breath, Lord help me to focus on You today…..I should not have eaten the chip and dip yesterday, why do I eat that when I don’t even want it?
Ugh, Be with me Lord, help me to see your people the way you see them, be with all of those who need your love and grace…..if I don’t get my sister's birthday gift ordered like TODAY she’ll never get it by her birthday.
Yes, it is only natural for the brain to hijack the mindful breathing and controlled intentions that we use to start prayer and instead use this calm to analyze the data from the day instead. It makes sense. We live in constant noise. At least most of us do and the noise is getting louder and the distractions are greater than ever. Our minds are craving the quiet to contemplate and gain control of our lives.
Many of us are distracted by digital interference, being overextended in our commitments, uncertain about the direction of our country and society, fearful of things outside of our control, worried about our children and families, and so many other things. It is becoming more and more difficult for our brains to connect to the stillness, and yet we need it desperately.
Let’s not be discouraged by this mental bedlam but let’s learn to lean into it. Stay with these thoughts and don’t fight them. Keep breathing and keep praying as the thoughts come to mind. Lord, protect me from undo panic. Lord, let me feel your unconditional love, even when I make mistakes. Lord, watch over my sister. Give her all that she needs to feel loved as she grows another year older.
Do not doubt these thoughts that come to you while you lean into God for support. Spend as much time as it takes until your thoughts become settled. Then sit and listen. Cross both hands over your heart and push. Breath. Be. Feel. Pray.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Anne Atkin, principal