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"Cha sgeul-ruin e 's fios aig triuir air."
("It's no secret if three know it.")

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"Praying will make you leave off sinning, or sinning will make you leave off praying."  

-Anonymous

 

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 Thoughts from Monk   Preston: March, 2014

     Sanctification: Growing in True Holiness

     As Evangelicals, most of us are thankfully very strong about receiving Christ as our personal Savior, and reverencing God's Word, as all Christians should be.  But we have felt a neglect in learning about prayer, and in Christian growth.  We have felt a neglect in our Sanctification, not silly legalisms like not playing, or wearing makeup, or going to movies, but real growth in true Biblical holiness; being molded day by day in Christ's likeness, following the Ten Commandments (as re-stated by Christ in the New Testament), and manifesting the Fruit of the Spirit.  Of manifesting the love of God by the Holy Spirit for God and others.  

     I have been blessed in this area especially by the books of great Christian teachers like J.I Packer (Anglican) and John Piper (Baptist).

     We have also often felt a neglect in being taught about the life and practice of the early church.  This is slowly changing, in many quarters.  

     Some of us have not been able to find a beautiful Church home, many others of us have found a wonderful Church, but it is lacking in some of these areas, and we must fill this lack by our own spiritual practices in our own prayer lives and Biblical studies.

  The Church Fathers taught strongly about our need to resist sin in our lives.

     I had an interesting experience recently.  I was alternating reading from two books. One of them was The Philokalia, Vol. 1.  This is an Eastern Orthodox compilation which is mostly beneficial -- I have not yet read the later volumes myself, and so cannot recommend them; some Evangelicals have had problems with them.  The other book was Vol. 4 of the 5 volume Ancient Christian Doctrine Series (a compilation of commentaries by the Church Fathers on the teachings found in the Nicene Creed).  I can highly recommend this Series 

    I coincidentally had read the exact same quote on the same day in both books (and it happened again two days later) from John Cassian's "The Conferences"; about his visit to the monks of the Egyptian desert, which I had previously read in its entirety.  John Cassian was a monk who lived circa 360-435 A.D.

     John Cassian  wrote:

     "It is plain, I say, that it is we who make the right and smooth paths of the LORD rough with the nasty and hard stones of our desires.  

     We are the ones who most foolishly forsake the royal road made stony with the flints of apostles and prophets and trodden down by the footsteps of all the saint and of the Lord himself.  

     We are the ones who seek trackless and thorny places.  We are the ones who. blinded by the allurements of instant gratification, tear our way through dark paths overrun with the briars of sins.

     Our legs become so torn, and our wedding garment so ripped up that we are not only pierced by the sharp thorns of the brambles, but actually laid low by the bites of deadly serpents and scorpions lurking there.... 

     But whoever truly gives up this world and takes on him Christ's yoke and learns of him, and is trained in the daily practice of suffering wrong -- for he is "meek and lowly of heart" -- will remain forever undisturbed by all temptations, and "all things will work together to him." Conference 3.24.24.  

(Quoted from: Ancient Christian Doctrine, Vol. 4: We Believe in the Holy Spirit; P. 203)

      It is helpful in resisting sin to think of what God has done for us.  The Nicene Creed is the recognized definitive summary of the Christian faith.   I have memorized it and pray it to God daily.  I greatly recommend this practice to all Christians. 

Fifteen Years as Lay Monks

     We have now been living this Lay Monk lifestyle, this life of prayer, since 1999.  Our goal: to draw nearer to God and share Christ's Good News throughout the world.  Thousands have joined us -- we really do not know how many, for this website of Prayer Teaching & Resources receives around 2.6 million page views per month -- we hope it has been a blessing to you, and will continue to be so.  

     Since we began this ministry, some of the teenagers who first became involved are now Pastors of Churches.  I am thinking of one in particular who is a Lutheran Pastor.  I know of another regular visitor to our Site who was inspired to become an Orthodox Priest.

     Consistently, since first going online in 1999, one out of seven of those who registered as Lay Monks have already been full-time Pastors, Youth pastors, or otherwise in full-time ministry.

     Recently, we have not been accepting such registrations, but as the re-organization progresses, we will again be doing so, though in a slightly different structure.

     But as always, it has never been necessary to do so -- we have always posted everything on this website -- everything necessary to live as a Lay Monk, which is really simply being an especially dedicated Christian -- dedicated to Christ, to prayer, and to God's Word.              

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Our special thanks: to those of you who have made the ministry of The Prayer Foundation possible through your daily prayers.

Our love and thanks to you all,

-The Prayer Foundation Monks  

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