Family Education Department(※at the time of writing)
The Practice of Prayer
1. Three Enemies (of Prayer)
There are three enemies to prayer.
The first enemy is to not pray. Even if you know the importance of prayer, it is not always easy to put it in practice. Even though prayer is your dialogue with God, you cannot always hear His voice. You may feel, “Is He really listening to my prayers? I don’t feel like I was given an answer. I don’t see any improvements,” and you may fall into doubt. As a result, you may sink into a life of not praying, even though you know its value. Therefore, first, practice praying with the attitude of believing and searching.
The second enemy is that it becomes a routine. When you lose the freshness, purity, and urgency of prayer, it becomes a formality and ambiguous.
The third enemy is a lack of consistency. When you are inspired, you can pray passionately, but that is not easy to keep. A life of faith requires cheongseong that lasts for a certain duration, not just for a brief moment.
2. Prayer is Praying
Prayer is your dialogue with God, but there are forces that try to hinder this. This main force is known as Satan, as well as the evil spirits under Satan’s rule. By interfering with your prayers, Satan works to make us stop communicating with God and turn around. Overcoming Satan’s hindrances is the key to breaking through in our prayers.
The first hindrance that comes to you when you start praying is “sleepiness.” Strangely, this is a phenomenon that you feel sleepy when you start praying and you feel refreshed when you stop praying.
The second hindrance is that you will be filled with “extraneous thoughts.” You may have started praying on a certain issue, but when you catch yourself, you may find yourself thinking about something completely unrelated. These extraneous thoughts distract your prayers.
The third hindrance is that you may remember an “urgent matter.” In the middle of prayer, you may recall an errand that had nothing to do with your prayer. A thought may pop up such as, “Come to think of it, I have to call that person,” or, “I forgot to get some detergent.” These thoughts distract prayer or may even stop you in the middle of the prayer in order for you to do that errand. When you think about it, you only lose a short amount of time and may feel it doesn’t affect you at all, but you are being defeated by Satan.
The fourth hindrance comes in the form of a “heavy feeling.” There is a certain spiritual pressure when praying, which may make you feel like something is wrong. This feeling can drive you to finish praying and leave the place as soon as possible.
The fifth hindrance is “impatience.” Certain thoughts may fill your mind such as, “Even if I pray, it won’t work,” “Isn’t it better to act than to pray?”, and “It is meaningless to pray if I can’t concentrate,” which can make you irritated.
In these ways, Satan tries to sabotage us. His purpose is to make us give up on trying to reach God. Satan knows better than anyone that once our longing souls meet God and experience the living and breathing God, the God of heart, and the deep love of the parental God, he would no longer be able to tear apart that relationship between God and “me.” In the end, Satan tries to stop us from knowing God’s heart so that we don’t get a taste of His parental love.
I pray to make Satan surrender. The problem is getting rid of Satan. I am saying we need to unite with God and expel Satan. When one is completely united centered on his/her conscience, he/she rises above Satan. We would be able to rise above fallen Adam and Eve and get rid of Satan.
Selected Words of Rev. Sun Myung Moon 275-309, 1996.1.1
3. Actual Steps to Overcome Hindrances to Prayer
1) Do Not Sleep
The first thing to do is not to fall asleep. The more tired you are, the more you need to do something to prevent yourself from falling asleep, such as standing while praying.
2) Pray in a Posture of Strength
Prayer requires a determined attitude, so you have to pray in a posture of strength such as kneeling down or bowing.
3) Pray with a Sincere Heart and with All Your Might
As your posture is important, it is necessary to pray with all your strength by uniting the spirit and the body. You need to gather up your sincere heart and call out, “Heavenly Father and Mother,” with all of your feelings. The more focused you are, the faster you will breakthrough and the deeper your prayer will be.
4) 3 Points to Consider and Overcome
The first point of caution is “keep your consciousness clear.” When you pray, your thoughts may drift off. When you do, open your eyes, look at the real world and reconfirm what you were praying about and what you wanted to pray for.”
The second point is to “get rid of idle words.” While you pray, you may have noticed that you’ve repeated certain words that had nothing to do with the intent of your prayer, even though you may have been praying out loud. In such a case, stop praying and ask yourself, “What am I doing? What do I want to pray about the most?” Recheck the purpose of your prayer in this way and after confirming your intentions, you may start praying out loud again.
The third point is “not to woo others.” When given a representative prayer such as at a prayer meeting or service, there may be moments where you try to impress the congregation with your prayer. Remember, prayer is something you offer to God, and you must not deviate from that essence.