Desert Wisdom: The Manner of Our Praying

While the establishment of places and times for prayer is important, the more-important reality is the disposition with which we enter into prayer.  Bunge turns to this in Chapter Three of his book.

He rightly notes that the establishment of the proper disposition for prayer is first of all in detaching ourselves from attitudes and passions which become barriers to fruitful communion with God.

Interestingly, the primary obstacle mentioned by St. Paul and St. Evagrius is anger.  For the early Christians, anger was more than “being mad” at someone or about something.  Anger is a destructive emotion that erupts when the ego is not getting its way.

Because true prayer is rooted in surrender, anger is the surest way not only to be distracted in prayer, but also to be defeated in our attempts to pray.  Anger gives rise to thoughts and images which poison the soul.

This is why Jesus said that we cannot allow grudges to exist when we are worshiping God.  This is why we cannot focus on the speck in someone else’s eye while ignoring the log in ours.

The manner of our praying is first to remove the blockages, so that God’s “water of life” can flow unimpeded into our lives.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Desert Wisdom: The Manner of Our Praying

  1. Scouse mouse says:

    whilst I agree that a disposition of the heart is right and good I have often battled with things being “in the way ” of God’s grace, so I could pray more effectually. After writing on the Psalms this year I realized that screaming my anger and frustrations at God (verbal and non-verbal) is fine, as long as I direct them to God and not hold them in my heart harboring resentment, bitterness or judgment to someone or something.
    I have found liberty in not worrying whether God could handle my frustrations as long as I end giving glory and praise to him as the psalmist does I think these prayers are more honest for myself. then I find that the” water of life” can flow.

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