Help Through Prayer

St. Elian, Missionary to Cornwall, England

St. Elian, Missionary to Cornwall, England

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


by Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

--Geronda (Elder), Saint James says, "The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working" (Saint James 5:16). What is meant by "Availeth much in much in its working?"

--That it is also necessary for someone seeking the prayer of a righteous man to want to be helped, to be saved, and to make an effort too. In other words, someone who wants to benefit from the prayer of a righteous man must have a good disposition. Prayer from the heart is heard; but the recipient must also be receptive. Otherwise, the person who is praying must have the sanctity of Saint Paisios the Great to be able to bring the other person out of hell. [In the life of Saint Paisios the Great the following event is related. A negligent novice fell in some sin out of disobedience and later died, before he could repent. God revealed to his Spiritual Father, after persistent prayers, that the soul of the novice will be tormented in Hades until the Day of Judgment, when he would receive the appropriate recompense. The Father then went to Hosios (Saint) Paisios and asked him to pray for the salvation of his novice. After the fervent prayer of Saint (Hosios) Paisios, Christ delivered the soul of the unrepentant novice from Hades.] So, first pray for those who wish to be saved.

When I ask God in prayer to help in various cases, I say, "My God, may Your help be obvious, so the people may benefit spiritually too; if it cannot be visible, don't help us." Many people are not at all aware what storms God has saved us from, nor do they think of it, so as to praise God. That is why we should ask Christ, Panaghia (Virgin Mary), the Saints to help people, but to make their help perceptible so the people can benefit spiritually from it.

Let's say someone is in danger of falling from some scaffolding and God provides that he be caught, whereas ordinarily he would not have been caught, and be saved. Or he falls somewhere and is not seriously injured. Or again he survives an accident. We should pray that this person understands that God helped and saved him and thus be helped spiritually by recognizing this fact. Someone fell from a bridge and was saved. I told him, "Did you go down to measure the depth?" It is the Saints who hold us in their hands. A young man to whom I had given a small cross to wear was speeding with his motorcycle; he passed in front of a taxi, flipped around and continued on the road, without being harmed at all. Many are spared from harm, but few are those who realize it and mend their ways.

--If I pray someone but he doesn't ask for help, will he be helped?

--That depends on many things. First of all, if he was of good will and was not helped for some reason, we can say that he is entitled to some divine help. Even if others don't pray for him, God will later provide for him to be helped. But if he himself asks for help, God will intervene earlier and he will be helped earlier, otherwise he will be helped later. With prayer we give God the right to intervene. Normally, when a person asks for help from his heart and says humbly, "Father, pray for me too," it breaks your heart and you can't forget him. Whereas if he says flippantly, "Pray, pray, pull some beads through your fingers for me," it is like saying, "See you!" How can you remember him?

When prayer is offered from the heart, with pain, for the problem of the world, all those who are asking God for help at that time will immediately receive it. I have many concrete examples. Many years ago, a man who was in profound despair wondered across the border, into the Iron Curtain. There, mistaking him for a spy, they seized him, tormented him and put him in prison.  While in prison, he prayed. A monk known to me learned of his situation and prayed for him. "My God, I beseech You, free him. This is easy for You to do." After the imprisonment, they called him to explain himself. After this that man found himself on Greek territory. When the Greeks questioned him, he said, "They beat me, they imprisoned me, and asked me to explain myself. After that I don't remember anything. I neither know or understand how I found myself at the guard-house on the Greek border." This is the power of prayer. Prayer moves God.

It's good for our "wireless" to work constantly, to embrace all the people who are seeking help. In the army, in the Signals Corps, we kept track of the foreign stations, but we also helped our own. We served as a transmitter for our stations that were too far away from headquarters to be heard clearly; we took their signals and transmitted them. There were always two of us working together two shifts. For if only one man was working, he would have had to interrupt and would not be able to help those seeking help, and his signals would not have reached those seeking help, and his signals would not have reached their destination. Such a station, when working constantly, can help those whose signals don't reach their unit. By the same token, one who is bold before God and prays for others serves as an intermediary between those seeking help and God. But what happens when one asks for help and the other has his station closed down, that is, is not praying? (Source: Spiritual Awakening: Spiritual Counsels II)

(Next: The Quality of Prayer Counts)



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


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom


With sincere agape in His Holy Theophany,

The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+Father George