If you lose focus on a prayer, is it lost?


I was wondering if during prayer your mind wanders yet you still finish the prayer by saying the words is the prayer lost or isit’s power diminished? I know some people are of the view that because the intention to pray is there the prayer is not lost but others like St. Louis Marie de Montfort believed a prayer not focused on is transferred to the devil. What is the Catholic Churches position on this?


Dear o,

The more fully we give attention to prayer, the more of us in praying. But it is good to remember that praying lies in the will. The will to pray is a prayer in itself. Certainly it is wrong to deliberately encourage distractions while at prayer. But unwanted distractions do not take away the value of prayer. Mother Teresa’s sisters pray the Rosary as they walk down busy city streets. There are distractions all over the place. But part of them is still praying.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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