This is the 23rd blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.” The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Praying (X).
Prayer means reconciliation with God. This in turn implies that there is a proper attitude for approaching God in prayer: humility, admitting one’s sins, seeking God’s forgiveness, repenting and thus making the effort to change one’s heart and way of life.
“Do not neglect prayer: it is then in particular that God will be reconciled with you when you on your own account appeal to him, when you present a mind purified, thoughts that are alert, when you do not make idle petitions, as many people do, their tongue saying the words while their soul wanders in every direction—through the house, the marketplace, the city streets.” (St. John Chrysostom, OLD TESTAMENT HOMILIES Vol 3, p 60)
Prayer means reconciliation with your enemies. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” If we can reconcile to others, we can eliminate our enemies!
In prayer we bring ourselves to pray for the world, including those who have offended us or whom we don’t particularly like.
“Abba Zeno said, ‘If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks.’“ (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Prayer Book – In Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church , kindle Loc. 3662-65)
Prayer is an action we are to do at all times and places. We are to pray unceasingly, and we do this if we constantly remember God. When we become so involved in our daily lives that we forget God, then we forget to pray as well.
“Those who desire to free themselves from their corruption ought to pray not merely from time to time but at all times; they should give themselves always to prayer, keeping watch over their intellect even when outside places of prayer. When someone is trying to purify gold, and allows the fire of the furnace to die down even for a moment, the material which he is purifying will harden again. So, too, a man who merely practices the remembrance of God from time to time loses through lack of continuity what he hopes to gain through his prayer. It is a mark of one who truly loves holiness that he continually burns up what is worldly in his heart through practicing the remembrance of God, so that little by little evil is consumed in the fire of this remembrance and his soul completely recovers its natural brilliance with still greater glory.” (St Diadochos of Photiki, THE PHILOKALIA , Kindle Loc. 8687-96)
Next: Praying (XII)
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