31. The intellect cannot be still unless the body is still also; and the wall between them cannot be demolished without stillness & prayer.
35. Prayer is called a virtue, but in reality it is the mother of the virtues: for it gives birth to them through union with Christ.
97. Undistracted prayer is a sign of love for God; but careless or distracted prayer is a sign of love for pleasure.
Father, Son & Holy Spirit,
It is very hard for me to be still. I have my regular routines of work, washing clothes, and dishes, cooking, cleaning, playing with and caring for Luke, spending time with Tim, Sunday worship, volunteering activities related to church, different ladies’ group commitments, checking e-mails, online bank & visa statements, and talking to family members on the phone. Then there are the other activities which also fill up my time: Netflix movies every so often, knitting while sitting around with others, reading on the bus to and fro work, shopping with my mom, perpetually cleansing and organizing my bedroom closet, mentally planning for (or at least mulling over) parts of my future, and sleeping every day. It is hard to be still because I don’t feel productive when I’m still. I should be doing something! And then to find the time for undistracted prayer…well, that is all the more difficult. The funny thing is that I know prayer is not a waste of time.
Your servant St. Mark the Ascetic so clearly states the reality of prayer—it is the mother of the virtues. Should I desire to be gentler, more forgiving, more humble or more gracious; I should first desire more undistracted prayer in my life. Lord, I do desire these things, but how do I desire more prayer? It is so hard to be still, yet I am to be still and know that you are God. Sure, I can pray willy-nilly or here and there, but that is purely happenstance and very distracted prayer.
Father, John the Baptist asked for him to decrease so that you might increase and the demon possessed boy’s father in Mark 9 said he believed Jesus could heal his son, but he also asked him to help his unbelief. I kind of feel like them. I want more Jesus in my life and I want more undistracted prayer with him. I believe undistracted prayer is a sign of the love for God. Please help my unbelief in that this is something I can incorporate into my daily rhythms of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.