Struggling to Pray

When prayer becomes emotionally dry

When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we don’t seem to know. This is the time we need to just pray without worrying about it. When we find we can’t keep our minds focused on the formal morning and evening prayers, as found in our prayer book, it is perfectly acceptable to simply light our lampada (hanging oil lamp), sit quietly before our icons, and let silence be our voice.

God wants to enter into our heart, and requires only our permission and cooperation. This relationship does not require an emotional response, for, like all relationships, we are not always open to an emotional response. Being real with God is far more important than being emotional, since emotions can be contrived and fleshly. As in all relationships, there are times when we do feel moved by emotions, but the lack of such feelings in no way represents a lack of love for God, because God cares for us, and God knows we love him, even when suffering in those dry times.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Another round of snow falls on the monastery.

Saturday February 9, 2019 / January 27, 2019
37th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Translation of the relics (437) of St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople.
Venerable Peter of Egypt (5th c.).
New Martyr Demetrius at Constantinople (1784) (Greek).
Venerable Titus the Soldier, monk of the Kiev Caves.
New Hieromartyr Peter (Zverev) of Voronezh (1929).
St. Demetrius Klepinine, priest of Paris (1944).
Venerable Leonty (Stasevich) of Ivanovo (1972).

The Scripture Readings

John 10:1-9

Jesus the True Shepherd

10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-23

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are ]unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Blessing and Admonition

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 17:3-10

3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Faith and Duty

5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

7 comments:

  1. Father Bless, When I say my morning and evening prayers. I give thanks and praise to God through formal Orthodox prayers and psalms. Then I have a long list of people, including my self, family, and friends, those sick, those that need help, the clergy, including you, :), the church……etc. Then I say another list of names for those who have died. Then I end with a prayer to God and the Theotokos. I know this sounds lazy, but because God know what we need and who we want His help for, is it necessary to resite all those names? The list in my head gets longer everyday . Is it truly beneficial when He already knows?

  2. interesting to read other’s comments about prayer that reflect exactly my prayers and inclusions of family, friends and the clergy

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