Monday, March 10, 2014

Prayer of Heart

Prayer is not an issue of the mind, alone. It involves the whole person who prays. An important understanding is that Prayer involves the heart, i.e. the whole person, involving the nous (intellect) the heart, the emotions. Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, in his book The Orthodox Church explains what the prayer of heart is:

“When someone begins to pray, at first using the lips, the person must make a conscious intellectual effort in order to realize the meaning of what is said. But if that person perseveres, praying continually with recollection, intellect and heart become united: finding ‘the place of the heart’, the spirit acquires the power of ‘dwelling in the heart’, and so the prayer becomes ‘prayer of the heart’. It becomes something not merely said by the lips, not merely thought by the mind, but offered spontaneously by the whole of one’s being – lips, intellect, emotions, will, and body. The prayer fills the entire consciousness, and no longer has to be forced out, but says itself. Such prayer of the heart cannot be attained simply through our own efforts, but is a gift conferred by the grace of God”[1].

[1] Ware, Timothy, The Orthodox Church, (London, Penguin, 1997), p. 65

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