Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Prayer 4


Some monks came to see Abba Lucius and they said to him, "We do not work with our hands; we obey Paul's command and pray without ceasing." The old man said, "Do you not eat or sleep?" They said, "Yes, we do." He said, "Who prays for you while you are asleep?... Excuse me, brothers, but you do not practice what you claim. I will show you how I pray without ceasing, though I work with my hands."

"With God's help, I collect a few palm-leaves and sit down and weave them, saying, "Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away with mine offences." He said to them, "Is this prayer or not?" They said, "Yes, it is."

And he continued, "When I have worked and prayed in my heart all day, I make about sixteen pence. Two of these I put outside my door and with the rest I buy food. And he who finds the two coins outside the door prays for me while I eat and sleep. And so by the help of God I pray without ceasing."

Some thoughts:

Dunno that I have anything intelligible to offer about this Saying because it has always puzzled me. Yet it has had enough meaning to make it into the collection. be glad of some help unraveling it.

First off, I appreciate that Abba Lucius demolished the idea that work and prayer are two separate things. I am of the opinion that anything we offer to God, even the act of breathing, is a form of prayer. He also made a practical point about sleep.

Hmm.. the light bulb may have lit. So often the experience of trying to say something to another crystallizes my thoughts. Thank you for being here today to help me. I am positive what I have just thought of has been patently obvious to many already. LOL Be that as it may, you have done me a service today.

I see I have been all hung up on the money issue as if Lucius were buying prayers. I've missed something. I am too commercialized capitalistic American.Lucius was giving alms. And the recipient of the alms expressed gratitude.

So the point of this Saying, is that "to pray without ceasing" is not something an individual can accomplish on their own. It must be a corporate endeavor. We see in the Book of the Revelation that those in Heaven, all the believers that ever were, are still praying. We here on earth pray. All the believers that ever shall be will pray. The entire Body of Christ is what prays without ceasing


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