Saturday, January 23, 2010

Struggle of Heart Prayer

I have many wonderful times of very heartfelt prayer, but in honesty my mind is easily distracted. Over the years I have used quite a variety of means for entering into deep prayer. I have fasted, sought silence and solitude, and used devotional tools such as prayer ropes and Icons. But I am flighty and restless. But I refuse to give up. The LORD IS, even if I am a wriggly child in His arms. If this is your sturggle here are a few words from Henri Nouwen's book, The Way of the Heart (Available from Amazon here)

The literal translation of the words "pray always' is "come to rest." The Greek word for rest is Hesychia, and hesychasm is the term which refers to the spirituality of the desert. A hesychast is a man or woman who seeks solitude and silence in the ways of unceasing prayer. The prayer of the hesychasts is a prayer of rest. This rest has very little to do with the absence of conflict or pain. It is a rest in God in the midst of very intense daily struggle. Abba Anthony even says to a fellow monk that it belongs :to the great work of a expect temptations to his last breath." Hesychia, the rest which flows from unceasing prayer, needs to be sought at all costs, even when the flesh is itchy, the world alluring, and the demons noisy. Mother Theodora, one of the Desert Mothers, make this very clear:" should realize that as soon as you intend to live in peace, at once evil comes and weighs down your soul through accidie [sense of boredom], faintheartedness, and evil thoughts. It also attacks your body through sickness, debility, weakening of the knees, and all members. It dissipates the strength of the soul and body, so that one believes one is ill and no longer able to pray. But if we are vigilant, all these temptations fall away."

With that thought in hand, I am going to rest in some prayers,

LORD in your mercy, Brian+

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