Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Let us pray; Our Father, who art in Heaven, I have to make sure I pay the electric bill when I'm done here. I can't believe I have to go back to the store, I should have written it down. Give us this day our daily bread, and I have to follow up with that email right away. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Seem familiar? Why is it that when we sit down to pray our minds get completely distracted? It happens practically every time and no matter how much you resolve to stay focused, you're all the more distracted. You can pray an entire rosary and not know which mystery you just prayed! What is going on here? Well, there's a couple things. One reason is that prayer is the opposite of how we live our lives. We enjoy distraction, noise, keeping busy and excitement. Prayer is the opposite of that. It's focus, patience, being quiet and still. It's really the opposite of our human nature. Secondly, and you won't like this one, it's the job of the devil and all his little demons to do everything within their power to distract, stop, frustrate and throw chaos into our prayer life. You might ask, "how do they do that?" It's an unpopular subject, but I'll tell you all about it.
Most of us are a lot like St. Thomas. He said, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hands into His side, I will not believe." Thomas refused to believe without seeing. We're very much the same way when it comes to the evil things of the world. These things used to be taught and talked about regularly, but today, the belief is actually discouraged. What has happened to our faith?
We know from many of the great Saints of the church that were visionaries, mystics and miracle workers, that the presence of Satan and his demons are all over the Earth. We can't see them, but they're everywhere. Yes in your house, car, place of work, grocery store and everyplace you can imagine. Of course, because we can't see them nobody believes this. Especially since the church has decided not to inform us of it anymore. Why they wouldn't want to arm us with the knowledge and weapons to fight them off is beyond me. Just ask yourself, when was the last time my parish priest talked about the countless numbers of demons roaming the Earth plotting the destruction of my soul? I'm guessing never. Jesus talked about it though, and He seems to be a pretty credible source.
I'll use St. Emerich as an example. St. Anne Catherine Emerich had many visions during her life. She was a stigmatist as well as having other supernatural gifts. She saw Christ's Passion in it's entirety. According to St. Emerich, when Jesus was brought before Pilate, she saw many demons, invisible to the crowd, that were exciting the Jews and stirring feelings of hatred within them. This type of thing has been going on since the beginning of man on Earth. There are always demons around us. They whisper in our ears, suggest corrupt and worldly thoughts and stir feelings of anger and hatred within us every chance they get. That's their job. It's what they do. They're trying to get you to turn your back on God and sin.
Have you ever seen The Santa Clause movie with Tim Allen? When his son Charlie is arguing with his stepfather, Judge Reinhold, about the existence of Santa Clause, Charlie says in defense, "have you ever seen a million dollars? Just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist." I know it's a goofy comparison, but it rings true. Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they don't exist. There are many Saints like St. Emerich who have confirmed there there are countless demons wandering the Earth, at all times, trying to get us to do anything except serve God devoutly. That means distracting us during prayer, getting us to react with anger and impatience, encouraging laziness so we don't fulfill our duties as Christians. The list is endless and their efforts will never tire.
If you don't believe me, do some research on some notable Saints such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Those are just a few of many Saints who were given the graces of seeing these destructive demons at work. They're real! They participate in many of your decisions because they're constantly in your ear. If there's anger, impatience and meanness coming from you, you can be sure it's the demons who are encouraging this in you. As I keep saying, "those who shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved." Don't be discouraged when you're distracted at prayer time. Don't feel guilty because you have sexual or hateful thoughts while praying. If you think it's just you, you're wrong. Some of the most hateful feelings we have come out during prayers. It's not uncommon for sexual thoughts to occur while you're in the middle of a rosary or novena. These demons know what they're doing. They're trying to get you to quit. If you do, they win! I assure you, Jesus knows exactly what you're up against. He knows how powerful these demons are and how easily they can distract a devout mind. Fortunately, Jesus sees our desire to pray devoutly and He won't hold it against you , providing you try your best to fight these corruptible thoughts.
Now that you know what you're up against, you can create a plan of defense. Ask for help from The Blessed Mother to keep your mind focused on your prayers. Your Guardian Angel is great at inspiring good thoughts and keeping demons away, if you ask for their help. Our Lord told us, "you can do nothing without me." Pray for help. If you persevere, your prayers will be answered. Your prayers are an offering to God. Consider how you want to present that offering. Will it be on a lazy, dirty platter that's corrupted with sinful thoughts that you didn't even try to control, or a shiny gold platter that's full of your best efforts to serve and honor our loving Lord through prayer?
Peace, good and blessings.