God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself

The God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself ere it leaves the heart. George MacDonald in Paul Faber, Surgeon, chapter 35, “A Heart.” You were more inward to me than my most inward part and higher than my highest. Augustine in Confessions (3.6.11), in Latin “interior intimo meoContinue reading “God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself”

by the tune of the rustling of Thy leaves

On the last Sunday before Orthodox Great Lent, the church remembers the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. This hymn is sung at the vespers on Saturday evening that starts this liturgical day. In this hymn, Adam asks Eden itself to pray to God for Adam (by the music of Eden’s rustling leaves) thatContinue reading “by the tune of the rustling of Thy leaves”

even as the day softens away into the sweet Twilight

This has been my Object, and this alone can be my Defence–and O! that with this my personal as well as my LITERARY LIFE might conclude!—the unquenched desire I mean, not without the consciousness of having earnestly endeavoured to kindle young minds, and to guard them against the temptations of Scorners, by showing that theContinue reading “even as the day softens away into the sweet Twilight”

Recovering the Millennia-Long Track Record of Praying with Icons in Christian Homes

Surviving the recent death of my mother after her five-year battle with cancer, my father (an ordained Presbyterian minister who works as a college literature professor) asked me for some simple suggestions regarding how to make use of icons in his home where he lives with my four youngest siblings. Two of these siblings areContinue reading “Recovering the Millennia-Long Track Record of Praying with Icons in Christian Homes”

a mysterious sanctuary where we are inseparably joined to God

And so there is, over and beyond our faculties, at the point where they originate, a mysterious sanctuary where we are inseparably joined to God and maintained by him upon the abyss of void, posed as a living mirror of his life and being. In this mirror, beyond habitual consciousness, our interior gaze meets thatContinue reading “a mysterious sanctuary where we are inseparably joined to God”

we search for You in prayer

From a selection of prayers excerpted by Bishop Theophan the Recluse from the works of Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian: We search for You in prayer, O Lord, for all is comprehended in You. May we be enriched by You, for You are wealth that does not diminish with the changes of time. May YourContinue reading “we search for You in prayer”

if she ever took to praying it would be for that time and all those people

From Lila by Marilynne Robinson: She meant to ask him sometime how praying is different from worrying. His face was about as strained and Weary as it could be. White as it could be. Now here she was again, worrying over people who were long past help. You can’t even pray for someone to haveContinue reading “if she ever took to praying it would be for that time and all those people”

not in the head but in the chest

The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology, edited by E. Kadloubovsky and E. M. Palmer (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), pp. 190 to 194: To stand guard over the heart, to stand with the mind in the heart, to descend from the head to the heart—all these are one and the same thing. The coreContinue reading “not in the head but in the chest”

Tips I’ve Heard About How to Pray and Worship in an Orthodox Church

In no particular order and from various sources, here are some tips that I’ve heard regarding how to pray and worship in an Orthodox church (and which also double as tips for all of life): 1. Keep your mind quietly within the present moment and only in the present moment. God only meets with usContinue reading “Tips I’ve Heard About How to Pray and Worship in an Orthodox Church”