Archive for the ‘Prayers’ Category


Third Homily on Prayer by St. Theophan The Recluse

February 6, 2008

Taken From

Third Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the

Delivered 29 November, 1864

I have explained to you briefly two aspects or two levels of prayer, namely: prayer which is read, when we pray to God with the prayers of others, and one’s mental prayer, where we ascend mentally to God through contemplation of God, dedicating all to God, and often crying out to Him from our hearts.[1]

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Second Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the Recluse

February 4, 2008

Second Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the Recluse
Delivered 22 November, 1864

Yesterday I showed you one method of establishing a prayerful spirit in yourselves [see homily 1], namely, how to pray in a way which corresponds to the meaning of the prayers. But this is only the beginning of the art (science) of prayer and it is necessary to go further. Consider the study of language, for example. First one studies words and phrases from books. But this is not sufficient, one must go further, and truly reach the point where he can correctly form phrases in the given language without the aid of the textbook. It is the same in the work of prayer. We get used to praying with prayer books, praying using prepared prayers given to us by the Lord and the Holy Fathers who were successful in prayer. But we should not stop at that, we need to continue on, and having accustomed ourselves to making petition to God for help with our minds and hearts, we must attempt to ascend to Him. We must strive to reach the point where our soul by itself begins speaking, so to speak, in a prayerful conversation with God and by itself ascends to Him and opens itself to Him and confesses what is in it and what it desires.

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First Homily on Prayer by St. Theophan The Recluse

January 30, 2008

Taken From

First Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the Recluse
Delivered 21 November, 1864

On the feast day of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most-holy Theotokos, I find it timely to give you instruction in prayer – the main work of the temple. A temple is a place of prayer and arena of prayer’s development. For us, entry into the temple is entry into a prayerful spirit. The Lord has the kindness to call our hearts His temple, where we enter mentally and stand before Him, ascending to Him like the fragrant smoke of incense. We are going to study how to attain this state.

Gathering in the temple, you pray, of course. And in praying here, you surely ought not abandon prayer at home. Therefore, it would be extraneous to speak to you about our duty to pray, when you already pray. But I do not think that it is extraneous in any way to give you two or three rules about how to pray, if not in the way of teaching, then simply as a reminder. The work of prayer is the first work in Christian life. If in everyday affairs the saying: “live and learn” is true, then so much more it applies to prayer, which never stops and which has no limit.
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A Prayer Rule by St. Theophan the Recluse

January 28, 2008

A Prayer Rule by St. Theophan the Recluse

A prayer rule for one who is on the path of a God-pleasing

You ask about a prayer rule. Yes, it is good to have a prayer rule on
account of our weakness so that on the one hand we do not give in to
laziness, and on the other hand we restrain our enthusiasm to its
proper measure. The greatest practitioners of prayer kept a prayer
rule. They would always begin with established prayers, and if during
the course of these a prayer started on its own, they would put aside
the others and pray that prayer. If this is what the great
practitioners of prayer did, all the more reason for us to do so.
Without established prayers, we would not know how to pray at all.
Without them, we would be left entirely without prayer.

However, one does not have to do many prayers. It is better to perform
a small number of prayers properly than to hurry through a large number
of prayers, because it is difficult to maintain the heat of prayerful
zeal when they are performed to excess.

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Prayer of Saint Ephraim

January 27, 2008

The Prayer of Saint Ephraim was the first orthodox prayer in
my daily prayers to gel with me. I found a refreshing view
point that I am a sinner that was lacking the last several years from
my spiritual life. It modern PC Christianinty we hear that God is not
mad at us which of course is true, but we need accountability in our
lives. We are always in need of where to turn next to develop a holier
life. There was no understanding of what to do after the prayer to ask
Jesus into our lives. I keep thinking of the story of the rich young
ruler. What must I do to be saved? When we ask Christ this question, we
also get answers, and like the rich young ruler we have to count the
cost. We are made to grow in the image of God. This prayer helps keep
me centered. Although traditionally it is a lenten prayer, it was
incorporated into the evening prayers of my first Orthodox Prayerbook.
It hits me everytime when I read and pray it. It gives me areas to work
on and virtues to strive for. I hope you enjoy.

Prayer of Saint Ephraim

O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of discouragement,
of lust for power,
and of vain speaking.

But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
of meekness,
of patience,
and of love.

Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages.


On Prayer and Prelest

January 15, 2008


Pray not to this end, that your own desires be fulfilled. You can be sure they do not fully accord with the will of God. Once you have learned to accept this point, pray instead that "Thy will be done" in me. In every matter ask Him in this way for what is good and for what confers profit on your soul, for you yourself do not seek this so completely as He does.

Many times while I was at prayer, I would keep asking for what seemed good to me. I kept insisting on my own request, unreasonably putting pressure on the will of God. I simply would not leave it up to His providence to arrange what He knew would turn out for my profit. Finally, when I obtained my request I became greatly chagrined at having been so stubborn about getting my own way, for in the end the matter did not turn out to be what I had fancied it would.

Evagrius of Pontus

On Prelest

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide — either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called prelest, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God’s elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness – prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky


About Prayer

January 15, 2008
“Prayer is a great weapon, a rich treasure, a wealth that is never exhausted, an undisturbed refuge, a cause of tranquility, the root of a multitude of blessings, and their source.” —St. John Chrysostom