Prayer – not only public, in church, but also the intimate one, at home – plays a very important role in our lives. How beautifully reflects about prayer Saint and Righteous John of Kronshtadt. Let us listen to his words:
„Prayer is the ascension of the thought and heart towards God, contemplation of God, conversation between the creation and the Creator, reverence of the soul before Him, as before the King and Life, who gives life to all us; for the sake of prayer we put aside all that surrounds us; prayer is what feeds our soul, it is the air and the light, life-giving warmth, washing out of sins, kind yoke of Christ, His light burden. Prayer is incessant awareness of our weakness or spiritual poverty, enlightening of our soul, sweet expectation of eternal blessedness, angelic blessedness, heavenly rain that refreshes, slakes and feeds the ground of our soul, it is the power and strength of the soul and body, refreshment and cleaning of the air of our thoughts, enlightenment of our face, joy of our spirit, the golden link between the creation and the Creator, wakefulness and courage in all grieves and temptations of life, perseverance in things, dignity equal to angels, strengthening of faith, hope, and love. Prayer is the improvement of life, mother of contrition of heart and tears; strong stimulation to acts of mercy; security of life; trampling of fear of death; disregard of earthly possessions, thirst for heavenly treasures, expectation of the Righteous Judge, of general resurrection and life of the coming age…, with prayer, through love, one is able to accommodate all people in his heart; it brings down the sky into one’s soul; it is accommodation in the heart of the Holy Trinity, as it is said: “and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14, 23)
So, by prayer, the sky comes down into the human soul. That is why, it is so important that we have a rule of prayer – morning and evening prayer. We have many prayer books today, big and small, so, go on, buy, acquire, and read prayers, keeping in mind that “prayer is incessant awareness of our weakness or spiritual poverty”, by prayer we find within ourselves, in people, in the nature, the matters of wisdom, kindness, all-powerfulness of God. Prayer is permanent state of thanks-giving and gratitude.
While praying, make all efforts to feel in your heart the truth and power of prayer, being nourished with them, as with perpetual food, watering with them your heart, as with heavenly dew, warming up with it as with the blessed fire. In prayer and in any work of your life, run away from devilish insertion and doubt and dreaming. Let the eye of your soul be simple, so that the entire body of your prayer, acts, and life is illuminated.
„As long as we are in fervent prayer, we feel stillness, and warmth, and alleviation, and light in our soul; because it is only then that we are with God and within God; but as soon as we leave prayer, we immediately become confronted by temptations and turmoil. Oh, the ever-blessed time of prayer!” – says St. John of Kronshtadt. Also St. John urges us to beware: “Make every effort to know that the most important labour of your life is the salvation of the soul. It is the most important thing. You will lose all that is earthly, you will not need anything of it in the eternity”. That is why the enemy tries hard to root every Christian to the ground, make him a slave of the earthly matter, so that he never remembers of anything heavenly. To chain the human being to possessions, money, vain glory, food, clothes, relatives, earth, etc. So that we forget of everything that is spiritual, divine, so that we are deprived of prayer.
It so happens that we often have plenty of time for anything, but for our own soul, treating it with utmost greediness. We very reluctantly offer to our soul even the most insignificant part of our time. Nevertheless, this is the most important labour of our life. The most important thing in the whole world. As Lord Jesus Christ says in the Gospel: but one thing is needful (Luke 10, 42). Amen!
Archpriest Valentin Mordasov
Calendar «Год души 2014» (The year of the soul), p. 28-29