Living Prayer

Worship to me means a relationship. I used not to be a believer, then one day I discovered God and immediately he appeared to me to be the supreme value and the total meaning of life, but at the same time a person. I think that worship can mean nothing at all to someone for whom there is no object of worship. You cannot teach worship to someone who has not got a sense of

How to Pray

I think the one thing the Church should do is teach people how to pray. Contemplative prayer in particular can give people back their birthright as children of God (inherently connected to and created by God). That is the only way to know your birthright experientially. Prayer is not something you do; it’s finally something you are whenever you collapse back into the very Ground of your being. Unfortunately, we flee into our minds instead—to

Resting in God

The final word for mysticism, after the optimistic explosion that we usually call hope and the ensuing sense of safety, is an experience of deep rest. It’s the verb I’m told that is most used by the mystics: “resting in God.” All this striving and this need to perform, climb, and achieve becomes, on some very real level, unnecessary. It’s already here, now. I can stop all this overproduction and over-proving of myself. That’s Western


Everyone will no doubt agree that the whole style of family existence has been radically altered by radio and television. These media of “mass communication” permeate today our whole life. One does not have to “go out” in order to “be out.” The whole world is permanently here within my reach. And, little by little, the elementary experience of living within an inner world, of the beauty of that “interiority,” simply disappears from our modern


As our practice deepens we see that thoughts are as porous as screen, porous to their grounding Silence. Realizing this, we are not quite so compelled to react or push away or grasp. Yet the externals of our practice remain basically the same; whenever we are aware that the attention has been stolen, we bring the attention back, whether or not we need to repeat the prayer word. While the externals of our practice are


“Delve deeply into the Jesus Prayer,” says the Russian monk Theophan. He obviously intends the Jesus Prayer as the prayer word. At an earlier doorway of practice such a statement would have made no sense. We might have recited it, been dedicated to it, been consistent in bringing the attention back, but to “delve deeply into” it would imply that the prayer word had some sort of dimension or depth. This is precisely the sort


“KNOCK AND THE DOOR SHALL BE OPENED” (MT 7:7; LK 11:9) “Let us sit still and keep our attention fixed within ourselves,” says Evagrius. Simone Weil describes prayer in much the same spirit when she says “Prayer consists of attention,” and “the quality of the attention counts for much in the quality of the prayer.” The practice of contemplation begins with our attention and our bodies. The basics are simple. We sit down and assume

Persons in Communion: The Disciplines of Communion (Part II)

The training of our consciousness enables us to recover an immediacy of response to anybody’s face, however spoilt, haggard, or careworn, and precisely because it is such. God loves this person here and now, in their very ordinariness, their cowardice, their loneliness, their sin. Our consciousness being awakened, the eye of the heart is opened, and we begin to see with the eyes of God. Then we can put ourselves in the other’s place, share

Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation

Stand diligently at the gate of the heart. —St. Philotheos The practice of stillness is full of joy and beauty. —Evagrius By the grace of creation and redemption, there is a grounding union between God and the human person. In the depths of this ground, the “between” cannot be perceived, for it is completely porous to the Divine Presence. Indeed there is more Presence than preposition. While this is the simplest and most fundamental fact


One of the elders said, “Just as it is impossible to see your face in troubled water, so also the soul, unless it is clear of alien thoughts, is not able to pray to God in contemplation.” Silence is the lost art in a society made up of noise.  Radios wake us up, and timers on TVs turn off the day-full of programs long after we have gone to sleep at night. We have music