Saturday, August 11, 2007

Elder Cleopa - On Prayer

A Living Prayer by Alison Krauss

The Desert

So, I meant to blog on the life of prayer during Great Lent, but the spiritual warfare was so great, I wrestled just to pray, let alone to write about my efforts. But two months after Pascha, I realized that part of the problem with my prayer life is that I disconnected myself from creative expression.

So I have several observations about prayer and I'm trying these out-- that prayer is entwined with those quotidian habits of mine. In my case, these are physical exertion, organization and creative expression. When I permit entertainment to permeate the space where I exercise, when I write, or when I organize (and throw away the unwanted stuff in the corners of my life), then I lose prayer. Furthermore, I tend to overexert myself in my discipline of prayer. I would like to write on each epiphany about prayer in the coming weeks.
  • Prayer is so connected to reflection and reflection to creative expression, that the two are synergistic. (See Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk for more).
  • Prayer is reflection on my life, which is cyclical and repetitious. It should be no surprise that my prayer is repetitious, a discipline towards which I endeavor and a reflection new every morning, afternoon and evening. (See Kathleen Norris' The Quotidian Mysteries; I'm so grateful that Mthr. Christophora gave it to me.)
  • Prayer is linked to physicality, to exertion, to position, to light and dark. Pray at all times and your prayers will be closer to righteous. (See Richard Foster's The Celebration of Discipline.)
  • If the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, then I feel very relieved to present my requests to the Saints who pray on my behalf. There is little evidence yet that I am a righteous person. I will entrust the righteous.
  • Prayer is intimate and repetition may shape us, but we should be available to our Christ, and know Him personally. (See Met. Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray; I'm so grateful that Fr. Gabriel, my father confessor, recommended it.)
One last book that I recommend for the time being: The Way of the Pilgrim by Anonymous.
Please pray for me as I write.

In XC, a handmaiden