Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beginning to Pray

"Prayer is a fire; and even more I say: it is a burning coal, while our hearts are dead coals. For this reason we must pray every day."

This advice that Abbot Theodosius of Optina gave in a talk to children is also good for adults.

"I wish, children, to talk to you about prayer. Do you know how to train yourself to pray? First, you must pray just a little, but as often as possible. Prayer is like a spark: in time it can turn into a great flame, but in order to kindle this flame you must have untiring zeal, and you must also have time and skill. Let us take for example two pieces of coal: one is red-hot, and the other cold. Try to kindle the cold one with the other. What must you do? You must put the cold one next to the red-hot one. But simply to place them together is not enough to make the cold piece of coal red-hot, unless you constantly and gently blow on the burning piece. If you blow to hard, sparks will fly out but the cold piece will not begin to burn, and your efforts will be in vain. But if you blow on the burning coal constantly and not to hard, then soon your entire piece of coal which was placed next to it will become itself red-hot. Then not only will these two pieces burn, but if you separate them one from the other a certain distance, everything that you place between them will also catch, and then it can spread into a whole sea of flame.

From "Children and Prayer", Translated by Mary Mansur

No comments:

Post a Comment