The Struggle in Prayer

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Prayer is infinite creation, the supreme art. Over and over again we experience an eager upsurge towards God, followed only by a falling away from His light. Time and again we are conscious of the mind’s inability to rise to Him. There are moments when we feel ourselves on the verge of insanity. ‘Thou didst give me Thy precept to love but there is no strength in me for love. Come and perform in me all that Thou hast commanded, for Thy commandment overtaxes my powers. My mind is too frail to comprehend Thee. My spirit cannot see into the mysteries of Thy will. My days pass in endless conflict. I am tortured by the fear of losing Thee because of the evil thoughts in my heart.’

Sometimes prayer seems to flag and we cry, ‘Make haste unto me, O God’ (Psalm 70:5). But if we do not let go of the hem of His garment, help will come. It is vital to dwell in prayer in order to counteract the persistently destructive influence of the outside world.

Prayer cannot fail to revive in us the divine breath which God breathed into Adam’s nostrils and by virtue of which Adam ‘became a living soul’ (Gen. 2:7). Then our regenerated spirit will marvel at the sublime mystery of being, and our hearts echo the Psalmist’s praise of the wonderful works of the Lord. We shall apprehend the meaning of Christ’s words, ‘I am come that [men] might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10).

From His Life is Mine by the Elder Sophrony

7 comments:

  1. I truly need to get this book. Thank you for sharing this quote Father.

    May God assist us all to “dwell in prayer”.

  2. I’ve never read a better summation of the experience of prayer. Good to know that I am not the only one who “fall[s] away from His light.”

  3. I always remember a phrase from Unseen Warfare that I took with me on my first half-a-runthrough: We seem to approach prayer in “fits and starts,” but never consistently dive in.

    Hmm…seems I’ve betrayed my own tendency even to read books in “fits and starts”…ah, well. Would that we all gave ourselves wholeheartedly to consistent prayer.

  4. What a profound quote this is! It’s one of those times when I feel like someone must’ve had a video camera mounted on the wall somewhere.

    Can you tell, Father, what is the origin of the quote within the quote in the first paragraph. (“Thou didst give me Thy precept …”) It’s incredible.

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