The other day, my sister and I were shopping at a discount store. My sister asked the clerk, ‘what is the most popular item you sell?’. The clerk asked her to repeat the question and then proceeded to make a list of the places she likes to visit in our town. Hmmm. She was busy with an activity (ringing up our order, but it was just a cake mix and a package of cupcake wrappers… not at all complicated). It was not particularly noisy in the store so what happened? Was the clerk lost in thought during the conversation? Have we, through the use of technology, forgotten how to speak to one another? Whatever was going on, she was not present and in the moment.
I see this so often. People glued to their cell phones as they walk across the street. Dangerous, people! Aside from obvious physical dangers, and looking doofy when you are too distracted to follow a conversation, how does it effect us when we are not present and in the moment when worshiping or praying?
While God is everywhere present at all times, I am only in one place at a time. If I am rehashing what I said to people during the week, or what they said to me, I am not fully present when I come before the Lord. I suffer. I am too distracted to receive benefit from prayer. My soul is disquieted. I am in the presence of my mind, not God. My offering is incomplete because I am incomplete.
One method we can use to overcome the noise is by saying the Jesus prayer; ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me the sinner.’. Repeat, repeat, repeat. This little, but effective and in essence a huge prayer, has guarded my mind, calmed me and helped me to prepare for important meetings and moments. it has helped me to prepare for deeper prayer whether at temple or at home. It can either be used alone, or as a transitional prayer to take one higher and deeper.
We cannot be in two place at once. The best place to be is wherever we are at the moment. Try using the Jesus prayer to keep you grounded and in the presence of God. It can help melt away distractions & bring you closer to God as He becomes the focus of your prayer.