Hi father i used to pray everyday, then i started dating a guy and began to stop praying, i am now single and trying to pray like i was before. I pray the rosary every now and then i say a quick "our father" i want to pray every day for one hour at least but im noticing thoughts thats happen while im praying...my thoughts distract me from praying i even tell the devil this is my hour with God. Can you give me advice as to how i can pray without my mind wandering... i want to mediate and feel gods presence and the holy spirit in me.
I also feel guilty at time i feel like i should be doing more ministry work but i dont know how. I already am helping wednesday evenings at my church but i do i feel God is calling me to do more, but i don’t really know how or what else i can do...what other ministries can i do?
Thanks for your great questions! Your first question on prayer really struck a chord for me. It made me remember how at one time in my own spiritual life, an hour of silence before the blessed sacrament would fly by – it felt like it was only a few minutes. It was such a beautiful, meaningful experience for me. I could wake up early for this time and was looking forward to jumping out of bed to get to the chapel. Then, slowly, for seemingly no reason, it seemed to become a difficult thing for me. The distractions would come, I would become frustrated as it became harder to get out of bed (hit that snooze just one more time!)... This beautiful time of intimacy with the Lord became, well, a chore. And because it had been so fruitful before, I felt discouraged. It was then that a spiritual director challenged me and offered me some helpful advice that I’d like to share with you. He said that I probably had changed, and that with that changing, my relationship with God would have to change, and therefore, my way of relating, communicating, praying would need to change. Soon after, I spent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, but now I would read scripture and journal different thoughts that came to mind. And once again, it became a beautiful, meaningful experience. My point is, that perhaps the distractions mean that you have to alter your private prayer time. Maybe you’ve changed in the time since you dated this guy, so trying scripture reading and reflection; spiritual reading (St. Bonaventure’s “Life of St. Francis” was a favorite of mine); or even the rosary using different meditations on the mysteries (i.e. there are meditations taken from the writings of Pope Benedict XVI as well as some of our Saints) can all be ways to shake up your prayer life. The important thing is to keep making time each day to raise your heart and mind to the Lord. Your second question about these feeling of being called to do more in the Church, could be connected to your first question. I can’t begin to list all of the ways that people serve the Lord - ways that they share their time, their talents for Him and His people: The people who quietly and unassumingly clean the church when no one is around, the person who brings communion to the homebound, the individual who chaperones a youth event, or those who go and work in a soup kitchen on their day off from work... there’s so many ways we can contribute to building up the Kingdom of God! The important thing is to recognize the desire you have and the realization that the Lord has put this on your heart for a reason. How does he want you to serve Him? That’s a great question you can get lost in prayer with for awhile!
Fr Jim Chern