Coming to prayer

Daily Reading for March 5

When we come to prayer we bring with us, although perhaps unknowingly, all the disquiet that we have imposed on ourselves during the preceding hours or days. If we have not beforehand tried to keep our heart or our body in a state of order, truth and beauty, we cannot expect them to be suddenly transformed, just because we shut our eyes and want to be in the presence of God.

The quality of our prayer is a function of the way we live throughout the day. If there is wisdom and order in our approach towards the whole rhythm of our daily activities—our sleep, the way we take our meals, the times of rest—then these will be the remote preparation for our recollection during the times specially set apart for prayer. . . .

We have to admit that we often become slaves to work because we renounce all custody of our heart. We engage passionately in whatever it is we are doing. We allow this to become our real center of interest.

From a contemporary Carthusian, quoted in Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer: From the Early Church to the Present, edited by Lorraine Kisly (Boston: New Seeds, 2006).

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