Distractions & Dryness in Prayer

Based upon Catechism paragraphs 2729-31:

Although it would be wonderful if our prayer time were always filled with warm and fuzzy feelings, such consolations do not persist over the course of our spiritual life. Instead, we often encounter difficulties in trying to pray, and that is why our tradition describes prayer as a “battle.”

Two of the most common problems are distractions and dryness.

Distractions are bound to happen, considering that our minds are constantly occupied, and whenever we try to quiet them, our habitual thoughts and worries are likely to resurface. We shouldn’t let the distractions take over, but simply refocus our attention on God:

To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart (2729).

At the same time, our distractions show us what is uppermost in our mind, and that can itself be food for prayer. If it’s a worrisome situation, we can entrust it to God; if it’s a sin, we can beg to be healed of it; if it’s a good thing in itself, but we’re giving it too much importance in our lives, we can ask the Lord to straighten out our priorities and restore our balance.

To experience dryness in prayer is to feel far from God, to lack any taste for spiritual things. Sometimes we cause our own dryness, especially if we are attached to sin in our lives and thus put up a barrier to God’s grace. Conversion of heart would cure this kind of dryness.

But in other cases, God Himself allows dryness for our own spiritual growth. By remaining faithful to prayer when it’s most difficult, we show that we love God for Himself, not for His consolations.