WHAT IS PRAYER? IT’S NECESSITY
It is not easy to define prayer. We read many definitions of prayer from the Father Church. Suarez tried to collect and appoint them. Some of them are not exact definitions, but only an emphasis on some advantage, the benefit that comes from prayer, e.g., when Evagrius said that “prayer is a fear of sorrow.” Therefore, we are always embarrassed to explain in a few words what prayer is. K. Rahner writes: “The Church prays. That is its essence. The complete doctrine of prayer is contained in the life of the Church. That is why, however, explicit and instructive interpretations of prayer are not very comprehensive and very unsystematic. ”
Suarez was a little afraid of this broad life concept of prayer. He reminded him of Wiclef’s division into mental, oral, and life prayer. According to Wiclef, only the third is said to have value, so it is the only one and absolute. Suarez answers him by justifying the threefold concept of prayer: 1. in the broadest sense of the word, it is every good deed; 2. In the narrower sense, prayer is only a good deed of our spiritual faculties, mind, and will, that is, the thought of God and a pious decision; 3. In an authentic and distinct sense, however, prayer is a prayer to God. Eastern authors do not use academic distinctions for the broader and narrower meaning of the word. Still, they speak of prayer: What is prayer, its necessity 1. since by this word we express the state of the soul, more or less constant attitude, focus on God; 2. as prayer means a religious act, especially the recitation of liturgical texts. We know from comparative religious science that the essential elements of prayer occur in all religions. There is a belief in higher beings on whom human destinies depend in some way. Religion, unlike philosophical systems, then believes in the possibility of dialogue, personal contact with the higher world. The intercourse is carried out primarily by ritual signs, words, ceremonies, i.e., prayers. Because it is such a complex manifestation, it is better to abandon the school method, which begins with the definition and then proceeds to the division, the engraving of species. It will be easier to get us on the right path in the opposite way. We will first realize what kinds of prayer are, and only then will we get a picture of what prayer is.
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