Open Letter:

Monk Prayer Life 

 

Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).
 

 

Photo: Green Monk.

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: Pacific coastal rock with birds.  Photo Copyright 2003 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved. The solitude of a bird sanctuary on our Pacific Coast.

The Letter We Received:

Hello, my name is Angie.  

I am writing you because I am in my senior year of a Christianity degree at ************** College in Georgia.  I am working on my senior paper and have decided to do it on the monastic prayer life.  I have found sources by Thomas Merton and such but would like opinions of those who live the life today.  This probably sounds like a weird thing to ask, but I am being honest.  I hope that you will write me back and tell me things about your prayer life as a group in your monastery and as an individual.  I do not mean to pry, just daily routines and what impact it has on you and the world inside and outside of the monastery's walls.

Thank you,
Angie B.

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Our Reply:

Dear Angie,

 
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
 
Thank you for your interest in our ministry.

"Prayer is the Christian life, reduced to its essence"                                  -Hank Hanegraaff (The Bible Answer Man) 

  Most prayer takes place in our Our Monastery ChapelSince we are still such a relatively new ministry, there really is no such thing yet, as a "typical" day.  So the following is a pastiche of several combined "typical days" for us:

3:30 A.M.: The Lord wakes up Monk Bob and Monk Preston for prayer.  They pray an hour.  This only happens about twice a week.

6:00 A.M.: Pray Psalm 5 upon rising.  Personal Prayer Time: Monk Preston prays his One Daily Hour of PrayerMonk Bob prays three hours.  They pray for all the Monks, the Prayer Warriors, and the Prayer RequestsMonk Preston says of this hour that it is a "beautiful island of peace in the day, where we can just sit at Jesus' feet."  Having around fifty Psalms memorized, much of this time is spent praying Psalms and simultaneously listening to God speaking through them.

7:00 A.M.: No breakfast today.  Water fast until noon for the next two weeks.  Read God's Word, instead.

7:30 A.M.: (Chores) Cooking, cleaning, building repairs, yard work.  Following the teaching of St. Paul ("pray without ceasing"), and the seventeenth century French Carmelite monk, Brother Lawrence (Practice of the Presence of God), we try to be in a state of prayer all day, as much as possible, as often as we think of it.  We "bring our thoughts into captivity to Christ," thinking our thoughts to God, and living in awareness of His presence all day long. 

Unlike Brother Lawrence, we often find our thoughts have drifted, and must be brought back to God.  Following the teaching of E. M. Bounds, we try to set aside as much time as possible dedicated only to prayer.  Following the teaching of Andrew Murray, we try to live holy lives so our prayers are not hindered.  Following the teaching of Jesus ("apart from me you can do nothing") we rely on grace (un-merited favor) and the Person of Christ Himself for moment to moment guidance by the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life.

9:00 A.M. The Monks pray together (see: Daily Prayer: Praying the Hours).

9:30-10:00 A.M. We used to listen to J. Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible Radio Program.  He teaches the whole Bible verse by verse in 5 years.  After listening to the radio broadcast all the way through and half again (for seven and one-half years), we purchased the CDs and still listen daily, but on our own schedule.  We often play them (and Christian audiobooks, like those by C. S. Lewis and E. M. Bounds) while driving doing errands).

10:30 A.M. Monk Danny creates beautiful music (working on his second Music CD, he composes all of the music and plays all of the instruments himself). 

Monk Bob preaches the Gospel on the streets in downtown Portland, Oregon (the first of three times today, and every day, that he will do so).  

Monk Preston posts the prayer requests that have come in.  There are four, one is from India, they need prayer as they go to villages where no one can read or write to preach the Gospel. The preacher is a former Muslim who became a Christian.  Another is from the Philippines.  

"How does one become a Monk?  A Prayer Warrior?"  There are three E-mails with questions.  One is a Swedish woman who is dating a non-Christian and wants to know the Bible's views concerning their possible marriage (No, a born-again Christian is not supposed to marry a non born-again Christian!).  A Generation X-er in New Jersey wants to know more about Jesus and Salvation, before he makes his final decision regarding suicide.  Today there are two answered prayers (see: Answers To Prayer, Your Comments, and FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions).

Noon: The Monks pray together (see: Daily Prayer: Praying the Hours). 

12:30 P.M. Lunch.

1:00 P.M. Internet Witnessing: Monk Linda (in 1999, she became the first woman Monk in the history of Christianity), whose gift of faith continually amazes her fellow monks, spreads joy and smiles wherever she goes.  A dialogue follows that cannot be taken lightly.

Two Moslems, from a country that shall remain nameless, are in a "chat" room and have questions concerning Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity. They are actually in that faraway country as they "chat."  Their exercise of "freedom speech" and "freedom of religion," neither of which they legally possess, could potentially result in a penalty of death.  

In their particular country, the penalty for becoming a Christian is death.  The questions fly, Monk Preston's fingers race, flipping Bible pages, finding the relevant verses, as Monk Linda types them in (see: Worldwide Persecution of Christians).

3:00 P.M. The Monks pray together (see: Daily Prayer: Praying the Hours).

4:00-5:00 P.M. Work goes on; radio broadcast, taped earlier of Hank Hanegraaff (The Bible Answer Man) answers questions with correct Christian doctrine.

5:30 P.M. Dinner Hour.  If its a Christian Movie Night, we sometimes invite guests (usually a Church or Christian Ministry group) over to fellowship, join us for dinner, watch a Christian Film, and join us for our Daily Worship Service.

6:00 P.M. Monk Bob leaves for two weeks to "street preach" the Gospel in Mexico.  He is totally fluent in Spanish, and has a great love and spiritual burden for the Mexican people.  This is his seventh missionary trip to Mexico this year.  In some towns the police (the police are often the Army) will put a shotgun to your head and order you to leave town.  In other towns, there is no problem at all.  Monk Bob is 81 years old (see: Monk Bob, Street Preacher).

7:00 P.M. Once a week is our Christian Movie Night, when we watch an inspirational movie (see our pages: Movie Reviews!, and Recommended Movies).

8:30 P.M. Daily Worship Service of The Prayer Foundation Monks .   

9:00 P.M. Reading out loud of a chapter of an inspirational book.  Recently we finished reading L'Abri, by Edith Schaeffer, and are now going through the books in the Heroes of the Faith Book Series.  Pray Psalm 4 before retiring. 

Note: The Prayer Foundation Monks are also required to earn 100% of their own living.   They have decided to live on less to be able to devote more time to Christian ministry. 

24-Hr. Prayerchain

Our Web Site: www.prayerfoundation.org, is an ever-growing resource for Christian teaching and information on Prayer. 

It also contains our 24-Hr.Prayerchain, a perpetual (until the Lord comes back!) 24-hours a day, seven day a week prayer chain.  At the time of this writing (April 30, 2003) we have received Prayer Requests from 44 countries (new countries being added monthly).  Christians (not monks) living in 8 Countries (Canada, United States, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Slovenia, Scotland, England) and in 37 States in the U.S.A., have volunteered to be Prayer Warriors by signing up to pray on our 24-Hr. Prayerchain.

The Monks at our monastery facilities in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington also pray for these requests.

When the Lord answers the prayer requests that were made, the people who made them tell us how and when they were answered.  We post this on our page Answers to Prayer.  We receive several E-mails almost daily of prayers that have been answered.  We do not claim to have any sort of "healing ministry" ourselves, but we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ has one ("the same yesterday, today, and forever").  We go to Him in prayer for these needs, and He answers. 

Examples of Answered Prayer:  _____________________________________________________________

12/4/00 URGENT: Please pray for my niece, Allison, she is only five years old.  A rock came through the windshield of the car she was riding in and struck her in the eye.                                                                                          Tom (Washington State)  

3/6/01 ANSWER TO PRAYER: (My niece) Allison got to go home at Christmastime.  The Doctors did not think she would regain mental awareness and physical ability, that her mind was gone.  THEY THOUGHT WRONG!  Allison is 90% back to normal. She has learned to walk, and talk, and eat on her own again.  She still needs some work with talking, but as far as we are concerned she is doing wonderfully.  I truly think God has his eye on Allison. She is a wonderful person and we are all so glad that we can share our lives with her.  I wanted to thank you for all your prayers.  At this point the Doctors have given Allison a clean bill of health.                                                                                                          Tom (Washington State)

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4/30/01 URGENT: Hello.  My name is Caroline.  My father is going to have open-heart surgery this Thursday.  Would you please say a prayer for him?  I just cannot imagine life without him.  He has been the greatest dad that anyone could ever ask for.  We've been through some tough times together.  My mother left us back in 1991.  It was a hard time.  Us kids would  rebel and take our anger out on him for her leaving.  I myself always ran away when I just couldn't take the pressure anymore.  But my dad never gave up on us.  He continued to work to put us through Catholic high school.  I am now 27 years old.  I just need extra prayers for him to make it through this ordeal.  I really appreciate your help.                                                                                          Thank you so much.                                                                                      Love,                                                                                 Caroline                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       5/2/01 ANSWER TO  PRAYER:  Dear Monk Preston & Family,

I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for your gracious prayers.  My dad is doing fine now.  He went to the hospital today to get a catheterization done to clear up his arteries.  Now the doctors said that he does not need the open-heart surgery tomorrow!!  THANK GOD!!!!!  He is a miracle worker!!!   Today was a total blessing.  Now my dad has to just recover from today's minor surgery.  I'm sure that'll go well, too.  He is a very strong person.  Again, I want to thank all of you for your love and support.  I love you.         Sincerely,                                                                                                    Caroline                                                                                                     xoxoxoxoxoxo

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Original Prayer Request: 11/26/01 URGENT: Please pray for God's will, for my Mom, Helena's terminal cancer.  The Doctor says she has days. She is bleeding internally.  From the chemotherapy.  Her body is shutting down. She has liver and bone cancer.
                                                                                                            ANSWER TO PRAYER 11/27/01: My Aunt Esther also has liver, bone, and brain cancer. They have not found the source.  Did not have the chemotherapy, is doing so much better.  Aunt Esther's cancer was spreading rapidly, even more than my Mom.  She has had a turnaround and is improving. Thank you, so much for all your prayers. Please continue to pray for Aunt Esther and my Mom, Helena. Aunt Esther is very thin, under 100 pounds. She is home, and is improving, very much. Praise The Lord!  Please pray they find the source of the cancer.  Please pray for a miracle in both these sweet ladies.
God Bless You!  God Bless The Prayer Foundation
, and All The Prayer Warriors, and Monks. God Bless America!                                                   Thank you so much for all your prayers.

ANSWER TO PRAYER: 11/27/01 Thank You, so very much for all your prayers.  My Mom Helena has had a turn around and is drinking and eating for the first time in six weeks.  Praise The Lord!  Thank You, Jesus! Thank You All!  I deeply appreciate everyone at The Prayer Foundation for all your support and prayers. It is truly a miracle from God! Thank You, Jesus and All The Prayer Warriors, and the Monks.  Thank You, Jesus for this Miracle. It is purely miraculous.  The Doctor was giving my Mom a day to live {Yesterday}.  The family was making funeral arrangements.  This Tuesday morning, my Mom was talking and ravenously hungry.  She ate today more than she ate in 6 weeks, all together.  Praise Jesus, for he does answer prayers. Amen!  Thank You, God for all the Blessings!  Thank You, God for all the Miracles!  God Bless Everyone! Have a Wonderful Merry Christmas!
God Bless America!

UPDATE: 12/6/01 My Mom has had a Miracle! She has been healed from cancer, and now is being healed from chemotherapy. Praise The Lord!  Thank You, Jesus! On Saturday, my Mom is being released from Hospice!  Praise God! It is a miracle, since last week the Doctor said she would not last a day. The family had started to make funeral arrangements. Praise The Lord! It is a Miracle!!!!  Jesus Still Heals!!!!!!!!!!!  It is eleven days since the Doctor said that.  Praise God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See more recent and current answers to prayer on our webpage Answers to Prayer.

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We hope this is helpful to you in writing your Senior Paper.

Yours in Christ,

The Prayer Foundation Monks

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