Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Evagrius: Admonition on Prayer - 4

If your Mind Wanders...

One of the major challenges in our prayer life is the wandering of our mind. Here is what Evagrius has to say about this:
"Be careful lest your mind wander during your time of prayer, thinking about empty things. In that case you will stir the Judge to anger, rather than to good will, seeing that he has been insulted by you. Should you be afraid in the presence of ordinary judges but show contempt in the presence of God? How can a person who is not aware of where his is standing and what he is saying imagine of himself that he is offering up prayer?..."

I found this to be a powerful admonition. How can one expect to be in relationship with another person when your mind is not focused on the conversation with them. And how much more important this is with God. What an insult it is to Him. This is surely taking the Lord's name in vane when we let our minds wander while calling out to him for help and forgiveness.

He continues with a powerful punch:
"Arouse yourself, wretch; your Lord is speaking with you. Do not wander off. His elect angels surround you, do not be dismayed; the ranks of the demons stand facing you, so do not grow lax."
Wretch? These are very strong terms he is using. The dictionary says this is "a despicable or contemptible person." He says rather directly "Do not wander off." This tendency we must fight with all our ability. We cannot be lax in this effort.

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