Hi Marcus, I need some suggestions on how to pray with A.D.D. Often my mind just speeds out of control and my thoughts are all over the place. I have to fight to get my thoughts in line. I also read somewhere that people recovering from pornography have difficulty to concentrate on prayer. Any thoughts on this?
I sympathize with you because my mind likes to race as well. As a result I do often have to struggle through prayer and it can be difficult to keep my focus. After my conversion in college I used to sit in the Adoration chapel and while praying I would have uninvited pornographic images forced into my mind. I would become very distraught and do my best to push them out of my mind and think of something else. I would feel guilty and think “I am in church and in Adoration and I am thinking about these things?…”
You can’t help it if images from your past experience pop up in your mind when trying to pray. I recommend instead of trying to run away, despair, or feel guilty – offer those images to God. You can use it as an opportunity to pray for the person in the image or memory. It can also be a great opportunity to pray that God untwist the lies that are burned into your mind. For example, if an illicit image pops up your mind you can pray “Lord, thank you for the gift of that person. Please help me to see them with the dignity that you have given them by your creation. Give me the strength to love them chastely. I offer my struggles and sacrifice as a prayer for their conversion”.
Here is my trick for entering into effective prayer when my mind is racing.
Instead of trying to pray a rosary or any kind of prayer with your words – be silent and still. We sometimes forget the power of silence in our hearts. When your mind is going one hundred miles an hour you might try to enter into a peaceful silence so as to allow yourself to just rest in God’s presence. Sometimes my wife and I just sit together and rest. I’ll hold her – maybe I’ll look at her – but we don’t say anything. We just enjoy each others’ presence. During those times we can feel very close to the other.
Meditate on 1 Kings 19:1-13
At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.