Struggling with Prayer: When prayer becomes a struggle
By Abbot Tryphon, November 10, 2019
When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we don’t seem to know. This is the time we need to just pray without worrying about it. When we find we can’t keep our minds focused on the formal morning and evening prayers, as found in our prayer book, it is perfectly acceptable to simply light our lampada (hanging oil lamp), sit quietly before our icons, and let silence be our voice.
God wants to enter into our heart, and requires only our permission and cooperation. This relationship does not require an emotional response, for, like all relationships, we are not always open to an emotional response. Being real with God is far more important than being emotional, since emotions can be contrived and fleshly. As in all relationships, there are times when we do feel moved by emotions, but the lack of such feelings in no way represents a lack of love for God, because God cares for us, and God knows we love him, even when suffering in those dry times.
With love in Christ,
~Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2019/11/struggling-with-prayer-2/.
Standing in Worship: The Orthodox practice of standing for worship
By Abbot Tryphon, November 19, 2019
Standing before God has been the only acceptable posture for Orthodox Christians from the earliest of times. We recognize that a faithful servant would never sit before his master, for the faithful are all servants of the Lord, whom we worship as we stand in our temples. The Holy Apostle Paul tells us, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith” (I Cor. 16:13); “Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (Ephesians 6:14).
As Christians we must always be on guard spiritually, ever more so then when attending the divine services. By standing we subject our bodies to the attention needed to properly and fully worship God with all our mind and soul. We subject ourselves before the Master as His humble servants, being attentive to our God. When we become fatigued during long services we symbolically become offerings to the very God we worship. Saint Paul says: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
With love in Christ,
~Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2019/11/standing-in-worship/.