Saturday, September 26, 2009

Letting Go for True Prayer

For many years I have struggled to make sense of everything, especially matters of my religion.  I studied, adopted the parts that made sense and left out the rest. I engaged in a prayer life that was intense, but made according to my own understanding and influenced by forms of non-Christain meditation.  My prayer was dry and fruitless even though I spent an hour engaged in it each day. 

Here is the key to solving this problem that I am now learning from the Church Fathers.  True prayer requires that we let go of our struggle to make "sense" about everything.  In prayer we are approaching God, the creator of all.  Our mind can never grasp this infinite source of life and all goodness.  As we struggle to make sense out of what is in the end not understandable, we block our experience of the Divine and reduce it to mere mental objects.

Consider the following by Archpriest Nicholas Deputatov:
Philosophizing is by far easier than praying. Satan is self-opinionated and encourages those who rely on their own wisdom. On self-willed theorizing and the grasping of “the great mysteries” he traps, confuses and destroys human souls. The greatest advantage of prayer is that it replaces all that we have. This is the most profound content that is hidden in prayer: faith, devotion, salvation. Whoever strives to pray with one’s whole heart is already saved. Prayer – is a half-way to God. Through prayer, a blessed power by way of a harmony of sacred words, pours into our hearts. Prayer brings divine joy.


  1. "Letting go"--- one of the things about Orthodoxy that initially appealed to me... and one of the things I will probably continue to struggle with.
    Thanks for such a thought provoking post.

  2. For me, once I knew I could trust in the Church, it became easier to let go. This is the beauty of the deep wisdom of the Orthodox Church and its unchanging nature. It nurtures us in many ways in our ongoing struggle.