Friday, 2 July 2010

How to pray by Evagrius of Pontus Chapter 3

Chapter 3
Prayer is a mental conversation with God; obviously then, one's mind needs tranquility, so that it may be quiet and stand attentively before the Master of the household without distraction, and discuss matters with him with no-one interrupting.
Translated from the Greek by John de la Tour Davies.

(Illustrated version of Chapter 3)

Evagrius  was alert to the power of distractions to interrupt our prayer. For him, distractions arise from anxieties; so it is necessary to arrive at a state of tranquility if mental prayer is to be possible. In this analogy, God is the Master of the household and the one who prays is like God's steward, who as a good servant would put aside his own concerns and agendas, and come daily before the householder to listen carefully and to receive his instructions. The steward would not act until he had heard his master's wishes. Nothing and no-one would come before that meeting of the steward and the master: it might be the only opportunity that day for the steward to receive his briefing, and if he missed it, the master's plans and purpose could not be effectively carried out.

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