Friday, May 29, 2009

Prayer Study Part 4- Prayer of Tears

Continuing with our study begun a few weeks ago, of Richard Foster's book, "Prayer-Finding the Hearts True Home." The book examines a number of different types of prayer. Previous notes can be found here.

Tears are like blood in the wounds of the soul.
Gregory of Nyssa

• A broken and contrite heart
• Inward godly sorrow
• Holy sorrow
• The prayer of tears
• Keenly felt sorrow over our sin and distance from God

The Experience of Our Forebears

• Early American missionary David Brainard wrote of his tearful repentance in his journal
• O that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people! Jer. 9:1
• I am weary with my moaning every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. Psalm 6:6
• Others pp 38-39

An Experience of Joy

• The “charism of tears”
• In earlier times, those with dry eyes and cold hearts were pitied
• Contrition and repentance is accompanied by deep joy in our relationship to God

What the Prayer of Tears Does

• God wishes to touch all aspects of our lives, including our emotions
• Tears are an indication that God has reached us emotionally
• Because we are sinners and separated from God (original sin), the prayer of tears aids us in acknowledging this
• Martin Luther recommended living a life of daily repentance
• Death and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes this type of repentance possible

Elements of Contrition

• Seek repentance as a gift from God
– Jesus prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
• Confess
• Receive God’s gift of forgiveness
• Obey- Obedience not just avoidance of wrongdoing, but the pursuit of virtue

When We Cannot Weep

• Be both firm and friendly with yourself. Don’t let yourself off with “I’m not the emotional type.”
• “I am a rock I am an island” mentality was not taken on overnight nor will it be overcome overnight
• Shed tears inwardly
“The fire of sin is intense, but it is put out by a small amount of tears, for the tear puts out a furnace of faults, and cleans our wounds of sin.”
John Chrysostom

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