I remember one evening during the course of my Confession I talked to the Priest who was hearing my Confession about my wandering thots while doing my prayers.
I asked him if he had any suggestions that would help me in this problem. He responded, probably with a smile, “no.” But he then continued on that “the Fathers of the Church struggled with the same thing.”
I guess it is a common struggle. And for me and my fellow ‘thot wanderers,’ it seems like we are in good company. Lord help us to struggle on.
I do not know if St. John of Krondstadt struggled with wandering thots during prayers and Services like I do, but I recently came across a prayer that I had saved. This prayer, according to the notes with the paper, was a prayer used by St. John asking for the gift of prayer.
This prayer responds to the ‘wandering thot’ struggle as it says, “Gather together the dispersed thots of my mind, that it may always strive towards its Creator and Saviour.” And “Quench the flame of the passionate thoughts that devour me during prayer.”
Here is the prayer in full:
O All-merciful Lord!
Grant me the divine gift of holy prayer, flowing from the depth of my heart.
Gather together the dispersed thoughts of my mind,
that it may always strive towards its Creator and Saviour.
Destroy the burning arrows of the evil one, which tear me away from Thee.
Quench the flame of the passionate thoughts that devour me during prayer.
Cover me with the grace of Thy Most-holy Spirit,
that to the very end of my sinful life I may love
Thee alone with all my heart, all my soul and mind,
and all my strength, and in the hour when my soul
takes leave of my mortal body, O Sweetest Jesus,
take into Thy hands my spirit when Thou comest into