Centering Prayer and ADHD

I was recently asked if I will write a post with centering prayer tips for people with ADHD. The individual mentioned she has trouble with focus during her prayer time.

I am pleased to write this post and hope she and others find it helpful!

Let’s first define ADHD.

ADHD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

As pulled from WebMD:

“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and teens and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses. Or they may have trouble paying attention. These behaviors interfere with school and home life.

It’s more common in boys than in girls. It’s usually discovered during the early school years, when a child begins to have problems paying attention.

Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.”

I do not suffer from ADHD, however, I am happy to share some suggestions on how one who does can still practice centering prayer. Here are my thoughts. I hope you find them helpful!

  • Center in smaller bursts of time: 1 minute to 5 minutes.
  • Practice multiple sets of centering prayer using 1-5 minute bursts. Perform 2-3 sets per scheduled sit time.
  • Sit 3 to 5 times per day. It is important to refill your reservoir throughout the day.
  • Walk outside for up to 20 minutes while you practice centering prayer.
  • Walk inside for up to 20 minutes if the weather does not permit.
  • Sit 1-5 minutes and then walk 15 minutes. Do this twice per day.

The most important thing to remember is that you cannot fail at centering prayer. God loves you and is delighted that you have taken the time to sit, walk or a combination of both.

It does not matter if it is 1 minute or 20 minutes. It only takes a second or less for God to act in you when you open yourself to the presence and actions of God within.

Over time you will discover the wonderful and unique fruits that the Spirit has planted within you during your non centering times.

I am interested to hear from others. Let me know what ideas you have too.

Go Further:

Driven to Distraction (Revised): Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder  by Edward M. Hallowell and John J Ratey

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault

The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette

Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating

Moving from Stress to Joy by Nicholas Amato


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2 thoughts on “Centering Prayer and ADHD”

  1. Although I do not suffer from this malady I used to work with this population and I just wanted to share my initial reaction to this posting.
    I thought, “how loving” it is that you would take the time to address this often forgotten segment of our society. Your pointers were spot on! Your genuine concern for others just oozed from this article. Thank you for all you do!

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