Desert Wisdom: Short and Sweet

Saint Augustine wrote that the early Christians believed prayers are to be “extremely short and hurled like spears.”  Bunge explores this on pp 113-120.

Many of these prayers were Scripture verses—e.g. “I will fear no evil, for you are at my side” (Ps 23:4).  The praying of Scripture was commended as the most powerful kind of prayer, not only to deal with temptation, but also to deal with the rest of life.

From these there arose the now-common “O God, come to my assistance.  O Lord make haste to help me!”

Abba Macarios was firm in his belief that long prayers were dangerous (e.g. Matt 6:7), and that it was enough to simply say, “Lord, as you will and as you know, have mercy on me!”

No matter what we think or how we pray, it is good to remember Jesus’s words that we are not heard because of our “much speaking.”

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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1 Response to Desert Wisdom: Short and Sweet

  1. Keith says:

    “From these there arose the now-common “O God, come to my assistance. O Lord make haste to save us.”” Yes indeed, since picking-up ‘A Pocket Guide To Prayer’. Thankyou.

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