Deeper still into prayer
This is a repost of one my old blog posts about prayer published on 6/06/2017. I do this as it is certainly more profitable for my audience to read a few blog posts deeply and absorbingly, striving to implement the habits suggested in them over months, then to read many blog posts with little depth. Enjoy!
This post continues my previous one, elaborating on the next four rules that will help guide us to pray more effectively and pleasing to God. I encourage you that upon reading all the rules, that you try to think about them during your day testing to see if they make sense.
5. Understand what you read, and feel what you understand:
No other rule in prayer is necessary than this. If you read “lead us not into temptation”, recall the myriad of temptations that befell you during the day and feel your weakness. True prayer consists of feelings in the heart. Without it, we are not yet praying properly and we must struggle patiently till we acquire feelings.
To do this we absolutely must pray much more slowly that we are used to. I would say that the majority of people lose out on most of the benefits of prayer most of the time because they pray far too hastily.
6. Struggle to control your thoughts:
Simply, with great patience, without excessive force and becoming disheartened, restore your mind back to the word of the prayer at which your mind strayed. Do this by repeating the word of the prayer again, for every time you realize your attention was chased away. Make sure to strive with all earnestness to let the words echo into your heart.
The beginner of prayer is naturally filled with a furious flurry of distractive thoughts. The devil is enraged to see one of his previous held captives struggling now to set themselves free from the bondage to their passions.
7. Pray orally:
There are generally three recognized stages of prayer by the saints. The first stage is oral. When we pray at home, we should pray orally and out loud. Why do we shy from praying out loud, even in our rooms? Why do we self-lovingly care so much that people will hear us and will think strange of us?
No! We mustn’t sin and be ashamed of talking to Christ in this manner. We must struggle to forget what people think and win in prayer. Strive also to pray in a bold and courageous tone as if we are entitled to demand God for the answers to our petitions.
Never forsake your prayer rule. Spiritual growth is only possible when prayer is undertaken morning and at night without fail. I guess it’s a no-brainer that this is by far the most difficult thing. How then will we do this?
Prayer is like driving a car, whilst spiritual reading is the fuel. We absolutely must daily read inspiring spiritual works, even if a little bit. In particular, we should read the lives of the saints and Orthodox literature specifically about prayer.
Prayer is like driving a car, whilst spiritual reading is the fuel.
The only way I believe that people can make progress in prayer without the use of holy books is if they are inspired and guided by at least one other close person who is a fervent prayer struggler. Many will agree that in our abysmal spiritual environment in western countries, we are exessively destitute of this.
If we strive to apply all these rules, we will be able to make progress in prayer within months and be a step closer into entering and experiencing the kingdom of heaven. O Divine Lord Jesus, grant us such happy prayer well-pleasing to You!
Did you like this blog post? This post is a part of a 3 part series.
Discussion: What helps drive your prayer life the most?