Monday, December 7, 2009

Without attention there is no prayer.


Prayer cannot be genuine if it is only on the level of active consciousness of the soul: that is, if one is merely thinking thoughts and saying words.  For prayer to be true, it has to reach the level of the spirit; and one cannot reach that level until one first stands watch and thus rises above thoughts and images.  That is why Christ said, "Watch and pray": prayer and watchfulness are inseparably bound.  As St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, a nineteenth century Russian ascetic in the Philokalic tradition writes: "The essential, indispensable property of prayer is attention.  Without attention there is no prayer." (The Arena, p. 85)

From Christ the Eternal tao by Hieromonk Damascene, p. 302-303

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