Friday, June 8, 2012

The audacity of love

Bishop Theophan the Recluse used to say that praying only with words written by another is like trying to talk in a foreign language using only textbook dialogues. 
Like many other church fathers, he said that we must look for our own words in order to pray. I suppose that this is truly possible for us (if we dismiss artificially invented prayers of our own) only in moments of desperate need, real anguish, either for ourselves or for others. In such moments we do not ‘recite’ prayers, we simply cry out to God, ‘Lord! Please come to him and comfort him!’ The audacity of prayer is born only in the audacity of love.
Abba Makarios said, ‘Love gives birth to prayer.’

—Sergei Fudel, Light in the Darkness, p. 50.

4 comments:

Sasha said...

That's right, "Love gives birth to prayer." But we need to get to that point first, and before that time we need to be going there - and those prayers of other people can help somewhat. Just like you, I value Psalms - they open my eyes to His greatness and love. Sometimes I get to see that, and I become genuinely grateful to Him - for creating me/us, for creating this beautiful world, for what He's done and doing for us - His care and salvation. Also, over the recent years I've been getting to know more and more of how wretched a person I am, unfaithful and corrupt, at the verge of desperation over my filth sometimes, and He still has patience with me. Out of that pit I can be silently grateful and sometimes humbly ask Him to hear my words, despite my failures to "show the fruits of repentance", and preserve my dear ones. So, usually I'm silent and bad, but - still in His presence. I guess that's a start...

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Brother Sasha, your words are mine. Usually I too am silent and bad, but still in His presence. It is being in His presence that makes it possible for me to want, to do, or to be, anything good at all. Yes, even as Christ Himself says, 'Why callest thou me good? There is no one good, but God,' He saying this as being perfect Man, for even of perfect Man it cannot be said, 'He is good,' except only by God, who alone can say of anything or anyone, 'it is good,' as He did at the Creation.

Sasha said...

Your words, brother, suggest to me and us to "bow your heads unto the Lord" and accept His will.

Aunt Melanie said...

Thank you for providing this 'documentation' of the legitimacy of saying spontaneous prayers versus prayer-book prayers. Both have a place, time, and purpose in our growth as Christians. But, the emphasis seems to be on certain pre-written prayers and the number of prayers, rather than crying out to God.