May I suggest a method I am sure many of you are familiar with, called “centering prayer”. This method, even though used by many spiritual writers in the past, has been taught extensively by Fr. Thomas Keating. His method is quite simple. When a thought comes to mind that is distracting and does not belong in prayer, or when we are trying to focus contemplatively on the presence of the Lord, and our mind wanders all over the place, he suggests using a “sacred word” like Jesus or Abba in order to interfere and derail the thought and refocus on the original subject matter. He suggests doing this very gently, because the tendency is to be annoyed with ourselves when we find ourselves wrestling with distraction. He reminds us that we are doing two things when we engage in this practice. We are refocusing and renewing our “attention”, and also renewing our “intention” to pray. No matter how many times in prayer we do this, the Lord is always pleased with our efforts, and prayer has accomplished its goal, a deeper union with the Lord.