I’ve been trying to get a stronger prayer life lately. One thing that has been bothering me is that, when people are around, I tend to stop-mid prayer until they are gone, I do it mostly out of a misguided desire to not be “caught” praying. Anyway I really feel like it is wrong to do so and any tips you can give on the subject are helpful.
This is not exactly what you asked, but if I were pouring out my heart in a close conversation with my husband and someone entered the area, like say the guy fixing my furnace, I’d either stop talking or I’d switch to a less heartfelt level of discourse. I’d probably acknowledge the other person and interact with them as well. I’d alter my communication patterns, in other words.
I am like you, though, and I will stop certain types of prayer if someone enters the room. Not if it is a short thing like grace, but if I am feeling close to God and meditating, I will lose that sense immediately. It wouldn’t happen if I were in a large chapel, with the understanding that everyone is directed towards the tabernacle. It would happen at home, where whomever wanders in the room might well want my attention.
I find it easy to get “distracted” when others are around. Part of it may be the desire to not get “caught” praying, even though I’m praying silently, and part of it is just plain distraction. I let the noise and presence of others get to me. Part of it may also come from the times I’ve been “interrupted” by someone saying something to me. Then it’s really hard to get back to it. Keep trying, we’re bound to win over it one of these days.
I think the important thing is to get back to prayer, not let the distractions end your prayer session (although, every second of every day should be some sort of prayer - “To work is to pray”[St. Benedict, I think]). I fall into the same issues, as do probably everyone. I think it comes down to fear - we’re afraid the other person/people will say or do something to attack us because we’re praying. But, who wants us to stop praying but satan? Most people I know, if you’re praying, they realize that and will leave you alone, or wait until you’re done.
I get the same problem, I noticed at the start of Mass earlier I kept getting lost because others were praying the Rosary aloud. I think it must come with time and confidence, there is a link to a pamphlet floating around that is supposed to help with praying without getting distracted.
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Mt. vi, 6 (RSV-CE)