How to control your thoughts while praying?

 

According to Father Porphyries all these thoughts that come into our mind while praying are like planes. First, you can hear them in the distance, as a background noise, and gradually the noise increases more and more, until they get above your head deafening you with their noise and then they move forward. If you pay attention to them, then they will land in your heart.

When you start praying the devil attacks and after your first words, after the first few short prayers he pours into your mind all sort of unimportant, worldly thoughts such as wondering what the time is or if it’s sun outside. All these are working as innocent thoughts but they ruin the voice of prayer in our mind. According to Father Porphyries all these thoughts that come into our mind while praying are like planes. First, you can hear them in the distance, as a background noise, and gradually the noise increases more and more, until they get above your head deafening you with their noise and then they move forward. If you pay attention to them, then they will land in your heart.

Some people ask me how to deal with thoughts that come into their mind while praying. I tell them that the first thing to do is to ignore them, meaning letting them pass above your head. Secondly is to ask the help of God and your guardian angel. Thirdly, don’t open your heart to them. Because the devil is stronger than us. He becomes angry when he sees that someone is praying. This is why we are attacked while we pray. There’s an army of devils who bring us all these low thoughts.

(Translation from Părintele Gheorghe CalciuCuvinte vii, ediţie îngrijită la Mănăstirea Diaconeşti, Editura Bonifaciu, 2009, p. 25)