Monday, June 4, 2007

Digging Deep

I have often asked myself after we have prayed, “Lord, have mercy” forty times in a row how God perceives this seemingly vain repetition. Then I realize, whether we pray it forty times in a row or once a day for forty days, that in God’s eyes, it is always in the ever present now. Our church prayers as well as the private prayers of an Orthodox Christian repeat this phrase often during prayer times. In fact, there are many prayers that are repeated day in and day out. An outsider may certainly assume it is dull, mindless repetition with no life in it at all. As with everything, it is a matter of the heart. Certainly God is not affected whether I pray it from my heart or not, as God is Who He is, the same, yesterday, today and forever. I am the one who is affected. I am the one who is changed and molded. Like the repetitious act of digging a deep hole in hopes of finding a buried treasure, so too, by the heart-felt sincerity of repeating the same prayer day after day, in church and at home, I am plunging deeper and deeper into the unlimited eternal wellspring of God’s divine Life. I am changed because, through the Church’s gift of life-giving prayers, I am digging out of the darkness and ever toward the uncreated light of God’s Presence.


Grace said...

I love that image of digging in deeper. I've thought a lot about that repetitive aspect of the "Lord Have Mercy"s. In the end, I realize that whatever the reason is that the Church put it into the service, it's up to me to make sure that it's not just a meaningless phrase.

Frederica Mathewes-Green said that somebody asked her why the Orthodox say "Lord Have Mercy" 40 times over and she said, "Because we're not listening the first 39 times."

Nicodemus said...

That's a great quote from Frederica. I thinks she is right. In reality, if we can nail it even just once, it would be like hitting the ball out of the park - what a great connection that would be!