“A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man. If this is true (and I believe it is) then the present inordinate attachment to every form of entertainment is evidence that the inner life of modern man is in serious decline. The average man has no central core of moral assurance, no spring within his own breast, no inner strength to place him above the need for repeated psychological shots to give him the courage to go on living. He has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life from his environment, unable to live a day apart from the stimulation which society affords him.” A.W. Tozer
“Let nothing, O Lord,
disturb the silence of this night.
In this quiet let me begin
to let go
of the thousand trivial attachments
upon which I have come to depend,
out of which I have built my life,
and upon which I have rested my hopes.
Letting go of what I have come to value
will be painful.
But what greater loss could I know,
what great blindness,
what greater calamity could there be,
than to make much of what is nothing,
to cling to what has no value?
But if I do let go,
I will have you, God,
I will want for nothing.
You alone suffice.”
Teresa of Avila
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Tozer suggests that the average man’s life is a sad one of missing out. Do you relate?
- He diagnoses the problem as an “excessive” dependence on what society gives–it’s entertainment, encouragement and stimulation. How dependent are you on those things “to go on living?”
- Do you have some “inner spring” that works to free you from such dependence?
- Teresa’s prayer is so honest, right? … my “thousand trivial attachments” … my need to “let go” … my need to “cling” to God. Can you begin to work on praying that same prayer?
Abba, free me from my trivial attachments. Strengthen me to cling to you.
For More: Let Nothing Disturb You: A Journey to the Center of the Soul With Teresa of Avila
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”
“Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer has become impossible and your heart has turned to stone. If you have never had any distractions you don’t know how to pray. For the secret of prayer is a hunger for God and for the vision of God, a hunger that lies far deeper than the level of language or affection. And a man whose memory and imagination are persecuting him with a crowd of useless or even evil thoughts and images may sometimes be forced to pray far better, in the depths of his murdered heart, than one whose mind is swimming with clear concepts and brilliant purposes and easy acts of love.” Thomas Merton
“Open my lips, Yahweh,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Merton’s words convey hope. He says that when we would otherwise probably quit in prayer (when our hearts have “turned to stone” or when our imagination is “persecuting us … with evil thoughts and images”) – that we should persist, and not only that, but that then we may “pray far better.”
- Can you continue to pray when your heart feels dead? … when your prayer is interrupted over and over again with sinful thoughts?
- What do you suppose there is to be gained or learned by persisting in these times? … and the danger in not persisting?
I love this prayer of Teresa of Avila in this regard:
“Let me not be afraid to linger here is your presence
with all my humanity exposed.
For you are God –
you are not surprised by my frailties, my continuous failures.”
For More: Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Nothing is more humbling than the recognition of (1) a deep thirst that makes us entirely dependent on someone else for satisfaction and (2) a depth of corruption that stains everything we do–even our efforts to reform–with selfishness. To realistically face what is true within us puts us in touch with a level of helplessness we don’t care to experience.” Larry Crabb
“Like the sun which shines on all alike, vainglory beams on every occupation. What I mean is this. I fast and I turn vainglorious. I stop fasting so that I will draw no attention to myself, and I become vainglorious over my prudence. I dress well or badly, and am vainglorious in either case. I talk or I hold my peace, and each time I am defeated. No mater how I shed this prickly thing, a spike remains to stand up against me.” John Climacus
“We do not know what is good for us, what we should ask for on any given day, at any given moment. Whether we are fervent or disquieted, at peace or thrown about by temptation, caught up in prayer or speechless, matters not at all. What matters is … however I find myself as darkness comes, that I should without ceasing hope in you and fear not. For if I have you, God, I will want for nothing. You alone suffice.” Teresa of Avila
“O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
Moving From Head to Heart
- Have you concluded that you are “entirely dependent upon someone else [God] for satisfaction?” Are you aware of “a depth of corruption in you that stains everything you do … with selfishness?”
- Are you able to “sit with” the longings that accompany these admissions and then bring them to God as the Psalmist does?
- Facing these truths “puts us in touch with a level of helplessness we don’t care to experience.” Are you willing to go with God to this place of pain? What would be the point?
Abba, like the psalmist, help me to honestly admit my longings to myself and to you, and may I find satisfaction in you alone, regardless of what happens with my longings.
For More: Inside Out by Larry Crabb
Thanks for reading! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)