Benedictine prayer presents a steep learning curve for the beginner. It is mind-boggling to attempt to make sense of all the instructions and details our Father Benedict lays out in a passage like Chapter 9. One crucial aspect of any beginner's experience on a Benedictine path, however, is that one is never tasked to learn it alone. Each novice is supported by a community that is steeped in the prayers and guided by a novice master who provides skillful instruction.
Learning to pray is much like learning a new language, and it is undeniable that the best way to learn a language is through an immersion experience among native speakers. And just as fluency in a new language opens up access to a dimension of the human experience known only by those who think in terms of the structural, cultural, and historical framework provided by that language, fluency in Benedictine prayer avails the soul to the riches of St. Benedict's transformative path.
True prayer is never easy, but it is always worth the effort. Thanks be to God for the help of the Spirit and for the guidance of our sisters and brothers whose voices we are given to imitate.