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Thoughts and Prayer

August 20, 2012

Some people think that by attending Church at the prescribed hour, they are fulfilling their Christian duties. They may be, but that is dependent not on the external place and time, not on whether they be “in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem,” but if they worship “in Spirit and in Truth.” How is one to worship truly and spiritually? The answer is simple: to mean what we say and to say it with our heart and from our heart. Cognitively speaking, it means to keep our mind from wandering. Dr. Jeffery Schwartz from UCLA School of medicine in his book, The Mind and the Brain, writes “The only willful choice one has is the quality of attention one gives to a thought at any moment…the strain of attention is the fundamental act of will.” Genuine prayer requires us to make that act of will with our entire heart.

On this matter, the Elder Nicodemus, spiritual father and missionary of Romania (1889-1975), once said the following:

“We should not allow our mind to wander about during prayer.  For whatever you are thinking , that you are also worshiping, and your prayer is changed to sin, for you are worshiping the idols of the mind, and not Christ.  Thus we should ask for God’s help so that we might be able to pray as we should.”

These words are golden nuggets of wisdom for those of us left to toil on earth.  They express in human words a divine truth-our thoughts determine our lives.  Our thoughts express our desires. Our thoughts are where we make the choice of all choices, between the way of life and the way of death. It is first and foremost in the thought world, that we make a choice of attention and focus or allow ourselves to drift, and this in turn directs our actions and shapes our destiny.

Lest, we worship the idols of our minds, rather than God, we need to be aware and ask God for repentance and constant longing for Christ. When such desire is present, it is easier to direct the thoughts of the mind with the prayer “Come Let us Worship and Fall down before God our King.” Reunion with God is the only event that matters in this life.   Yet, we are constantly filled with thoughts of this world-“making money to support my family”, “good relations with my spouse, my co-workers, and my boss.”  Ultimately, those are not what fulfill our desires.  God knows what we need and is willing and able to give us what we need.  Our time on this earth is short.  Our prayer must be directed to what is eternal, what is everlasting.  We are pilgrims on earth seeking a heavenly homeland.  Think about this for a moment-will people remember you twenty years after your death?  Will they be impressed, twenty years after your passing from this life, with your club memberships, your wealth, your supposed fame?  Your eternal soul will be all that matters.  Ensure your prayer life corresponds to what truly matters.   All is vanity here on earth, our eternal destiny beckons. And the entryway begins in this life with prayer in Spirit and in Truth.

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From → Distraction, Prayer

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