On Prayer

Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica

Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

A CONTRITE AND HUMBLE PRAYER TO OUR CREATOR AND ALMIGHTY GOD

+In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have mercy on us. (3 times)

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

All-Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, forgive our sins. Master, pardon our transgressions. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for the glory of Your Name.

Kyrie eleison. Kyrie eleison. Kyrie eleison.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven...

For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, Of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

(quiet, attention, concentration...)

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner. (repeat many times mentally)

Our prayer to God the Holy Spirit

Heavenly King, Comforting Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, You are everywhere present and You fulfill all things, Come, and dwell in us, Cleanse us of every stain, And save our souls, O Holy Spirit of God. Amen.

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ON PRAYER
By Saint Thaddeus of Vitovnica (Source: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives)

The Lord is present everywhere. He lives in our hearts. That is why He said that we must love with all our heart and do everything willingly (cf., St. Matthew 22:37). When we seek the Lord from the heart, He is here! He is our Parent. Our parents in the flesh want our attention; they want us to return the love they have given us. But what happens? Very often we make them sorrowful. So when we seek God, we must do so from the heart. When we endeavor to do everything from the heart, then we have sincere, warm prayer, a love for our parents and neighbors, and the Lord is with us.

Every task we perform is at the same time a prayer. Our thoughts are focused on the job, and when we perform it from the heart, this means that we doing it for God. (This teaching was addressed to Orthodox Christians who were living a life of accountability to God. Fr. Thaddeus was speaking about God-pleasing works.) If we think we are doing it for anybody else, we are wrong.

Prayer from the heart is sincere prayer. Always pray to the Lord from your heart. The Lord does not require philosophy from us. We should pray from the heart, as to our Father: "O Lord, help every soul, and do not forget me, either. Help everyone to find peace and to love Thee, as the Angels love Thee. Give us, too, the strength to love Thee as Thy Most Holy Mother loves Thee and Thy holy Angels. Give me, too, the strength to love Thee boundlessly!"

The truth is that when we men pray, we read our prayer rule without the participation of our entire being. We only pay lip service to our prayer rule. We are distracted, and of course that means that we are not praying in spirit and in truth (cf., St. John 4:23-24). We are only praying with our bodies and pronouncing the words with our lips, while our being is really somewhere else. Our attention is focused elsewhere, not on the words of the prayer. That is why the Holy Fathers say that vigilance and attention should always go before prayer. When we pray without attentiveness, then we are not praying in spirit, or in our thoughts. However, when we are attentive to what we ask for in prayer, we are concentrated on the words we speak and on that which we are asking for.

When we ask for help from someone who we know can help us, we turn to him earnestly and, with our whole being, beg him, "Please do this for me. I know you can do it." This means that we are convinced that he can help us, and so we ask him for help. But we often pray to God without attention, mechanically, and we consider that to be prayer, when actually our minds and hearts are not present. Our minds are elsewhere, or we are planning to do something and our thoughts are occupied with it, or our minds dwell on an insult...Our minds are focused on many things except for prayer. That is why the Lord said that God is Spirit and that, we pray, we must pray in spirit and in truth. This means that our spirit must be present when we pray.

The Lord is the only One Who bears our burdens and cares, all our infirmities and worries, both physical and of the spirit. He can bear everything, for He is Almighty. We must give over to Him all of our infirmities and those of our neighbors, through prayer. That is what prayer is for. We must be one with the Lord and we must not worry about tomorrow, for as He says, "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (St. Matthew 6:34). This teaches us not to worry about tomorrow. But we do; we worry not only about tomorrow but even further than that, and this is very stressful for us. We are rational beings, created for one day of stress at a time. Yet we torment ourselves much more than that, and therefore we suffer. We are not obedient to the Lord when He tells us not to burden our hearts with food and drink and the cares of this world. We burden our bodies and our souls. Food and drink burden the body when we eat and drink more than we need. Our bodies must work hard to digest all that food, and so they are burdened. And if we also burden ourselves with thoughts, then the stress is doubled and so is our suffering. That is why we must always be praying.

God doesn't need our prayers--we do. When we pray to God, we're actually talking to Him just as we talk to one another. God is our Father. We have no relative or friend here on earth who understands us and loves us as the Lord does. His love can't be put into words; it can be neither understood nor imagined. We're too small to understand the depth of God's love. His mercies are indescribable. He gives of Himself to us without reserve, and we can't even begin to understand this!

Tears flow when our thoughts are concentrated on prayer or when certain words that we read or hear touch our hearts, for example, at the Holy Liturgy. We weep when we hear words at the Holy Liturgy, Vespers, or Matins, and these words are in some way connected with our thoughts. This can also happen when we are praying alone. The Holy Fathers say that everyone, when they pray to God, can find a word that can touch their hearts, whether it be in the Psalter or in some soul-edifying book.

When all our noetic powers are concentrated in us, we can see our weaknesses clearly, and we understand that we have sinned greatly against justice, truth, and love. Then God sends purifying rain down upon us to wash us, that is He sends us tears. That is why the Holy Fathers say that when a certain word touches our heart in that manner, we should hold on to that word for as long as possible and we should not let our attention wander anywhere else.

Not everyone is so concentrated at the Holy Liturgy so as to shed tears. Those who are free of the cares of this world and who dwell in Grace can weep at anytime, anywhere. No wonder, because their thoughts and all their noetic powers are concentrated. Such a person is meek and humble and is always ready to shed tears Whereas I, for example, who am none of these things, need a good whack on the head in order to shed a few tears, either because of pain or because of humiliation--because someone has humiliated me by striking me on the cheek. That is how I can be reduced to tears, but that is not beneficial for me, you see. But the tears that come from a humbled hear--these tears are salvific. However, tears of rage or stubbornness, or because someone has offend us, are not beneficial at all. Such tears can harm us.

We cannot achieve salvation in any way other than by transforming our mind, making it different from what it was. Our minds become deified by a special act of God's grace. They become passionless and holy. A deified (theosis) mind is one which lives in remembrance of God at all times. Knowing that God is in us and we are in Him, the deified mind is perfectly at home with God. He is everywhere, and we are like fish in water when we are in God. The minute our thoughts abandon Him, we perish spiritually

(To be continued)

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen.

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Glory Be To GOD For All Things!

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George