Practicing Prayer

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From The Desert Fathers translated by Helen Waddell:

The brethren asked the abbot Agatho, saying, “Father, which virtue in this way of life is most laborious?” And he said to them, “Forgive me, but to my mind there is no labour so great as praying to God: for when a man wishes to pray to his God, the hostile demons make haste to interrupt his prayer, knowing that their sole hindrance is in this, a prayer poured out to God. With any other labour that a man undertakes in the life of religion, however instant and close he keeps to it, he hath some rest; but prayer hath the travail of a mighty conflict to one’s last breath” (116-117).