Single-minded prayer

Those who like to cook while watching TV, or respond to e-mails while taking phone calls, might have been surprised by the results of a study on multi-tasking released earlier this year. The two major findings from the University of Utah study could be summed up as follows: 1. People aren’t really very good at doing two or more tasks at once, and 2. Somewhat paradoxically, those who chronically multi-task (and consider themselves adept at juggling assignments) are actually the most distracted overall (Nancy Shute, “If You Think You’re Good at Multi-tasking, You Probably Aren’t,” npr.org, January 24, 2013).

Most of us wouldn’t think of prayer as a “task” like driving or washing dishes—yet it’s still a discipline, an activity that must be managed against other constraints on our time. For those who consider quiet communion with God as one of their top priorities, insights into the pitfalls of multi-tasking might offer some lessons.

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September 30, 2013
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