The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States is very, very hectic. I appreciate Joshua Becker’s recent post on doing holiday traditions that you want to do rather than feel that you need to do.
Still, even with an “on my own terms” mindset to the holidays, you can feel overwhelmed. I know that I do.
The spillover of course is that when you go to pray, your mind is still racing...
- Is the gift for Aunt Helen the right gift?
- When is that holiday party?
- Did we get the tickets for Breakfast with Santa? (An event I despise by the way but that’s another story.)
The list goes on and on. A seasoned person of prayer knows how to gently hit “pause” in his head when these thoughts barge in. A person with a young prayer life will be pulled in a thousand different directions when these thoughts come in. Whether you are new at prayer or are steeped in holiness, silence and quiet are very important.
St. John of the Cross said this, "What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love."
I suggest, when the racing thoughts approach, that you do one of two things:
- Say to yourself, “I’m going to let that one go...” and truly let it go.
- Write it down. If it’s really important, write it down or capture it in your task manager. This way, you can then go back to prayer and have the confidence of knowing that you can revisit the item later.
Prayer is an art and takes practice. With these two strategies, you’ll be able to handle the distractions that come your way.