Be focussed on prayer






“A Letter on Prayer”, The Cloud of Unknowing


I find it difficult to remain focussed on prayer at times, and find it useful to look to the giants of the faith in the past for their lessons learned on how to live a life of prayer. The unknown 14th century author of The Cloud of Unknowing writes:

“Since you have asked me how you should control your feelings when you are praying, let me give you the best answer I can.

Let me start by saying that the best thing you can do when you start to pray, however long or short your time of prayer is to be, is to tell yourself, and mean it, that you are going to die at the end of your prayer. I am not joking when I tell you this: just think how impossible it is to tell yourself…that you are certain of living longer than the time your prayer takes.

…you will see that is quite safe to tell yourself that you are going to die, and I advise you to do so. If you do, you will find that the combination of your general sense of your own unworthiness combined with this special feeling of how short a time you have left to make a firm purpose of amendment, will concentrate your mind wonderfully on a proper fear of the Lord.

You will find this feeling taking real hold of your heart, unless (which God forbid), you manage to coax and cajole your false heart of flesh with the false security that you are going to live longer. It may well be that you are going to live beyond the time of your prayer, but it is always a false comfort to promise yourself that this will be the case and to persuade your heart to rely on it. This is because only God can know the truth of the matter, and all you can do is rely blindly on his will, without having any certainty beyond this for a moment, for the time is takes to blink an eye.”

I will give this a try.

Author: steeres

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