Weeping Prayer

I recently have been reading about the Orthodox spirituality in Russia, though this observation may be associated with Eastern Orthodoxy generally.

One of the things that has struck me in the Russian Christian tradition is the role of weeping. Holy persons and holy fools in the Russian tradition will often weep, and spiritual counsel is often to be told to go and weep. And one of the miraculous things that happens in Russia is when their icons weep. There is, basically, a whole tradition of what we could call weeping prayer.

I've been through a lot of studies where we survey all the different types of prayer, from structured prayer to breath prayer to contemplative prayer to petitionary prayer. But I've never encountered a book or study on prayer that included weeping prayer.

I think we should include it. To weep as a form of prayer seems to be a very powerful expression of prayer. To weep for your sins. To weep for the sins of the world. To weep in solidarity with those who are weeping.

And while it might seems strange to us in the West to weep in this intentional manner, it's very common in the Russian tradition. Spiritual seekers and pilgrims are told, "Go and weep."

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