The Pray-ers

V.xii. 9. Abba Luke was visited once by some monks known as “euchitae”, that is “pray-ers”, and he asked them, “What manual work do you do?” And they replied, “We don’t have anything to do with manual work, but pray without ceasing as the Apostle said.” (1 Thess.5.17). “You don’t eat then?” the old man asked. “Of course we eat”, they said. “Who prays for you when you are eating, then?” he asked. “And don’t you sleep at all?” “Yes, we do sleep,” was the reply. “And who prays for you while you are asleep?” he asked. And they didn’t know what to say in answer. “I’m sorry, brothers, but your deeds don’t match your words. Now let me show you how to pray without ceasing while doing manual work. With God’s help I sit here soaking palm leaves to make plaits and I say, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.’ (Psalm 51.1) Is that prayer or not?” “Well, yes, it is,” they said. “After I have stayed here all day,” he said, “praying either silently or aloud, I have earned about sixteen coins. Two of them I place outside the door, and the rest I keep to buy food. Whoever takes those two coins prays for me while I am eating or sleeping, and thus by the grace of God I fulfil what is written, ‘Pray without ceasing'”

From: DE VITIS PATRUM, BOOK V, Libellus 12: Prayer without ceasing

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