Preparing Your Mind for Prayer

Your prayer life won’t always be easy. When you take a step or two forward, you might take a step or two back. Just like life, prayer is a journey that you make and sometimes it’s more of a winding, unpaved road than a clear path. At other times you might just be walking in circles. So what should you do?

Just keep striving forward.

The key to a good prayer life is a change in perspective. Prayer is a moment to love God, says Kendra von Esh, rather than a task to check off your to-do list.

“Prayer is not in thinking much, but in loving much.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“In some cases, you just gotta muscle through it. Sometimes you just don’t feel it and we have to remember that those times of desolation and aridity are the times when we grow. That God might even be testing us to see how much do we really love him and will we continue with our commitment and dedication and love of him?” explains von Esh.

If you struggle with calming your mind and finding the right frame of mind for fruitful prayer time, try these tips from von Esh.

“Put yourself in God’s presence—approach God. … And if you put your mind as, ‘Ok I want to do your will, Lord; please help me calm my mind,’ then you get into prayer, it really does help put you in that state instead of trying to meditate while you’re driving in the car or doing other things.”

An important thing to do, if you struggle to quiet your mind and avoid distractions, is to find a calming and distraction-free environment to pray, and then ask God to help you. Begin your prayer with a request that God might help you to focus your mind for a fruitful time of prayer.

Inevitably, it will be frustrating at times. It won’t be perfect. But you need to be consistent and keep trying.

“It’s like St. Francis de Sales says—even if you try mental prayer and all you do is fight distractions the whole time through, it’s still a wonderful prayer,” said von Esh.

Hear more from the interview, including a discussion on the nine levels of prayer:

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.