Prayer to a Place of Stillness
“In prayer, we come nearest to making a real clearance in the thicket of thought. Prayer takes thought to a place of stillness. Prayer slows the flow of the mind until we can begin to see with a new tranquility. In this kind of thought, we become conscious of our divine belonging. We begin to sense the serenity of this clearing. We learn that regardless of the fragmentation and turbulence in so many regions of our lives, there is a place in the soul where the voices and prodding of the world never reach.” Eternal Echoes, Page 202, John O’Donohue
Despite the fact that when we pray our prayers are so often overrun by constant thoughts, yet, if we persevere in prayer, we will find that prayer itself can make “a real clearance in the thicket of thought”.
We are good at multi-tasking in our everyday life and you may have noticed that you have become good at multi-tasking in your prayer life as well.
Have you ever come to the end of the Lord’s Prayer wondering if you actually did say it? I have—more often than I would like to admit. I sometimes come to the end of saying a prayer, such as the Gloria, only to realize that all the way through it I have been thinking of something totally different.
How do we overcome this? How do we slow our overriding thoughts until we get a sense of serenity and become conscious of our divine belonging?
Saying repetitive prayers, such as the Lord’s Prayer and the Gloria, out loud instead of in our mind, saying each phrase with a measure of intent and meaning, can assist us in quieting our thoughts.
Repeat a short prayer, such as: “Glory to God”, over and over; increase the space of time between each repetition, until you realize that your other thoughts have become quiet and are no longer interrupting your prayer to God; then you are aware that prayer has taken your thought to a place of stillness.
Other Posts about Stillness
Stillness and Silence by Janet Sketchley
Shut me up, Lord by Jan Cox
Judith Lawrence lives in Muskoka, Ontario, a land of lakes, forests, and wildlife. She began to write seriously when she was in her fifties and has written three non-fiction spiritual books. Judith has also written a book of mystical poetry and one of short stories; she writes a weekly blog about contemplation and records a podcast meditation monthly.