Thursday, February 23, 2006

prayer

since lent is on its way...(YAY!)

questions.


I am reading a book about prayer, and it is good.

I sort of started asking this over on my own spot, but here is as good as any.

when we pray, is it about meaning the words, connecting to God, feeling like we are connecting to God, obedience, discipline,

should we repeat prayers if we find our mind wandering, how do we discipline our mind?

any thoughts on prayer are welcome here, rather, requested...

oh, and maybe we can change the colour of the background during lent?

9 comments:

elizabeth said...

i am interested in what people will say; for me i would says that this also a good question for one's spiritual father...

what book are you reading?

The Pleasant Peasant said...

As you might have notice, I enjoy throwing quotes around, so...

concerning the 'meaning of words' St. John of Kronstadt says:

"Prayer is a state of continual gratitude."

Just something nice to consider :)

elizabeth said...

one other thought about the post: PLEASE do NOT change the background to black or something super dark; i can never read things well this way...

okay, there's my sincere request! :)

maybe we can find out what the liturgical colours for lent are and do a shade of this?

thomasw said...

purple and black would be ok:/ but i have to disagree with the above poster, a black background with white text is by far the easiest on the eyes; hence the old black-board with white chalk! hey, it is a classic combo; it just works best for most people.

Simply Victoria said...

I just bought a book called "Courage to Pray" by Met.Anthony Bloom.
and i'm afraid to read it. there's irony.
afraid because I know that it must and needs to usher in change in my oh so stale prayer life.
I read a phrase the other day, 'rote prayer', and I didn't like how it sounded, and the implication in the phrase: that these prayers in our Orthodox prayer book are 'rote', because to me, rote means "1 : the use of memory usually with little intelligence (learn by rote)
2 : routine or repetition carried out mechanically or unthinkingly"(m-w.com).
Yet, I don't agree that rote must remain unthinking.
I think that when we memorize things, we internalize them.
I had a professor who encouraged us to do this with poetry. He told us that when we memorize poems, we absorb their essense, we start to feel the meaning, and can then analyze it more effectively, more intuitively.
This is my sense of our prayers in the Orthodox prayer book.
And also, of course, these prayers are only a starting point to deeper prayer. About which I am still learning.

Kierkegaard said this about prayer:
"The 'immeidate' person thinks and imagines that when he prays, the important thing, the thing he must concentrate upon, is that God should hear what he is praying for. Yet in the true eternal sense it is just the reverse: the true relation in prayer is not when God hears what is prayed for, but when the person praying continues to pray until he is the one who hears, who hears what God wills. The 'immediate' person, therefore... makes demands in his prayers; the true man of prayer only attends."

Gabe said...

Someone said, I think it was Hopko, that if you find your mind wandering during prayer, don't Stop and don't keep telling yourself to "Focus, focus, focus!" Just let the thoughts flow through, let them pass and turn back to God, just keep turning back to God.

Fr John H told me that I should not to focus on my not focusing. Before your prayers begin ask God to Help you in your prayer to him. He said not to worry about wether or not you feel connected with God during your prayers. This will come with time, if you keep praying over and over and over and keep working at it. He told me it helps if you stand quiet and perfectly still before you start praying. Be vigilant and if you catch yourself moving away a simple but powerful "Lord have Mercy" helps.

He also added that it is not totally the experience that matters, more so it is the fact that you have come and made the effort to pray with Him and be with Him that matters.

I do not feel it necessary to repeat prayers. Just continue praying.

biss said...

Thanks Gabe & Vic.

MatJenny said...

Hopko also says -- on some tape, can't remember what it is -- that prayer is the proof of humility. If you're not praying, it's because you think you can solve everything by yourself. Or words to that effect. I hadn't heard that take before, so it helped me.

elizabeth said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the background colour Thomas; I do not mind people disagreeing w. me but I will never like black w. white letters; I find it harder to read and only read certain blogs through my aggregator on bloglines because of this. Also I know from my MLIS course work on websites (for what its worth) that this is seen as a poor website design for readability and accessibility. That said, hey I like everyone on this blog a lot and agreeing to disagree on stuff like that is fine :)