STAYING FOCUSED WHILE PRAYING
In theological school, we all had to take a class on prayer. We would practice each class. Over a few days, I began to hear the term “monkey brain” used by my classmates. My classmates used the term “monkey brain” as the mind, wandering away while we are praying. When I first heard this expression, I was very relieved that my classmates experienced the same drifting of the mind during their prayer time. It happens to all of us, but for a long time I thought it was just me.
In prayer class, thoughts other than our prayers would enter our minds and we had to force ourselves to return to God. The mind’s wandering was always an indication that we had not set ourselves enough apart from the world. We still had not emptied ourselves and were not really engaged in conversation with God. But “monkey brain” happens to all who pray, and when it does, we must return at once to God in an empty state. Sometimes it serves as a quiet reminder of where we are, or an indication that we are not in uninterruptable state. But because prayer is sacred, we must return emptied.
“Fundamental to prayer is a sense of need that we ourselves cannot meet, and faith that God is both able and willing to meet that need.”
Charles L Allen, a mid-twentieth-century author and pastor, describes prayer as follows: “Fundamental to prayer is a sense of need that we ourselves cannot meet, and faith that God is both able and willing to meet that need.” When we search for something to meet our needs, we search in many places. We search at work, in our relationships, and in our readings. The further we search, the more we seem to just miss what we’re looking for. Searching directly for God through prayer will open us to God’s desires for us and when we are patient and faithful, God will reveal the answer we seek.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman