"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See, this is new'? It has been already, in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after." (Ecc 1.9-11)
"Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord." (Ps 102.18)
It is a most curious aspect of existence, that there really is "nothing new under the sun". And yet, it is equally true (and necessary for the human race to maintain its forward momentum or "progress") for every generation to enthusiastically believe it has just "invented the wheel".
So it goes for the Church. Every generation must have a fresh, personal and powerful Pentecost. Nevertheless, to avoid religious lunacy, we must all understand that we are part of a long, spiritual and apostolic continuum; we are building on foundations laid by our forebears, while standing on their shoulders.
I believe that this is most especially true when it comes to prayer, which, because of its absolute and ultimate importance, is subject to special temptations and pitfalls...particularly spiritual pride.
"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men...' " (Lk 18.11)
Somehow or other, the Church in the Last Days has got to navigate its way away from being a corporate carer and entertainer, and become a "house of prayer for all peoples"?
In the squalor and mire of Hitler's Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer searched for a way of being Church which had the grace and power to resist and then turn the tide against antichrist. He formed the view that an "unrecognizable" expression of Christian monasticism was the solution. By this I believe he meant the creation of prayer communities which did not necessarily look anything like historical contemplative houses...but which nevertheless sit spiritually, four-square within that venerable, Biblical tradition.
A non-sectarian and unbiased reading of Church History, reveals that there have always been bona fide followers of our Lord Jesus Christ who have felt called (individually and together) to live to pray and pray to live. It has been a consistent "manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Co 12.7), which now needs to be delivered from every religious trapping and prejudice, and appear anew...for the "first time", so to speak.
Many of those who have devoted themselves completely to a life of prayer, have historically looked back to Elijah the Prophet for their inspiration. He is considered to be the father of contemplatives and intercessors because: