Thursday, September 23, 2010

Danger of Delight in Prayer

Do you ever find that prayer is more satisfying alone at home than in Church?  If so, you are facing a great temptation. Elder Macarius says that if our prayers at home as such that they "call forth the sweetness and the tears that you delight in, God is ill pleased."  Prayer can easily become something that is done for our satisfaction lacking the necessary humility for true prayer.  The Elder says, "Sweetness and tears, unaccompanied by a sense of the deepest humility, are nothing but temptations."

When we have this "pleasure" in prayer at home but do not find we can call on the same "pleasure" in Church, we cannot conclude that we do not need to go to Church to pray.  This is a delusion.  We are being tempted by our pleasure in prayer at home to avoid our worship in church.  In this way we will not find true peace.  We are being overtaken by our pride.

The Elder says,
Pray simply.  Do not expect to find in your heart an remarkable gift of prayer.  Consider yourself unworthy of it.  Then you will find peace.  Use the empty cold dryness of your prayer as food for your humility.  Repeat constantly: I am not worthy; Lord, I am not worthy!  But say it calmly, without agitation.  this humble prayer, unlike the sweet one you delight in, will be acceptable to God.
Reference: Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction, pp 96-97

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