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Prayer Life

“ don’t have to be a monk or nun on a deserted island to have contemplative prayer in your life. It is something all believers should ask God to give them in their prayer life.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“The other Sunday, a friend of mine who is a pastor took an informal survey of his congregation during the homily. “How many of you struggle with your prayer life?” he asked. Every hand in this parish of nearly three hundred shot up! The priest admitted that prayer was his own greatest spiritual struggle. The fact is, practicing effective prayer is like fighting on the front lines in a war. Our greatest challenge is to pray!...Anyone who wants to grow closer to God must develop a disciplined prayer life.” (Fr. Michael Keiser)

“We must find the time to pray, regardless of the “cost,” because the only thing we cannot afford not to do is to pray. Each person must “be alone” in prayer with some kind of regularity, as the Lord was alone in prayer. We must make the time. Jesus would withdraw from the affairs of the world, at least temporarily, in order to strengthen—perhaps even “energize”—His human nature through the communion of prayer. Regardless of our ability or inability to fully explain Christ’s prayer life as it presents itself before us in the Gospels, we know one thing for certain: we need to pray in order to be fully human.” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff)

“There is a tendency, I think, to conceive of our prayer life as an effort that somehow gains us something. Like so much in our lives, we imagine prayer to belong to the realm of cause and effect. “If I do this…then this will be the result.” There is no causation in the spiritual life, at least not in any manner we can imagine. God alone is the Cause, and He “causelessly” causes – we can never truly observe His causation: it remains out-of-sight. Self-emptying is an embracing and acknowledging of the complete futility of our efforts. We cannot cause anything in our spiritual life. We cannot add a “single cubit” to our span of life; we cannot make our hair white or dark. God is the cause of our existence and is alone the source of eternal life and blessing.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“If it is hard to pray in our day and age, it is because we have only partially the peace upon which prayer depends, and because we have only a small portion of the belief that God can restore our inner world and our outer world to peace. We lead full lives, but lives that lack certain dimensions of freedom; we describe ourselves as servants, who “have so much to do.” We seem to know so much about the complexities of the world’s sorrows, the obstinacy of others and the practical difficulties of addressing both. We may actually not believe that it is prayer above all that brings peace. Where are we to find the peace that precedes prayer, as well as the faith that prayer itself will bring peace? For each person, the answer is somehow different. For one Christian, it is the memory of a treasured elderly relative whose devotion to Christ was unshakeable. For another person, it is reading the Gospels and the Epistles that brings such peace. Another person takes comfort in the lives of the saints, or in miracle stories, or in nature’s mute yet overpowering testimony to God’s goodness. Still another person looks upon the stories of those who do good in the world, while yet another finds that the key to a prayer life is to light the oil candle, prepare the incense burner and gaze upon holy icons. For other people it is the chanting in the Church that brings them the peace they need to pray. Some of us find that fasting is an indispensable aid to prayer. Or we may find that, for us, the key to prayer is communal support, that we need another person to push us along.” (Timothy Patitsas)


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