When we prepare to pray, we must first make peace with
everyone to whom we have done evil, and even with those who have anything
against us, and after that, with reverence and attention, stand for prayer.
During prayer we must direct our mind so that it does not think about anything
else, so that our heart wishes only one thing: to pray better and please God.
If we pray without making peace with our
neighbors, if we pray hurriedly, if we talk or laugh during prayer, then our
prayer will not be pleasing to God. God will not hear such a prayer, and He
might even punish us.
For more diligent and intense prayer, and for a
good pious life, fasting has been established.
The time of fasting, or lent, is the period when
we must think more about God, about our sins before God, when we must pray
more, repent, not get upset or hurt anyone, but rather, help everyone, read
Godís law, and so on. And to make it easier to fulfill all this we must first
of all eat less ó not eat any meat, eggs, or milk, that is, animal and dairy
products, but eat only "lenten" food, that is, from plants: bread,
vegetables, fruit, and fish (if allowed). We fast because the rich foods from
animal and dairy products call forth a desire not to pray, but to sleep, or to
act foolishly. When we develop the habit of not giving in to our desires for
more or rich foods it makes it easier to fight against sin.
The greatest and longest fast comes before Pascha.
It is called "Great Lent."
When can we hope that God will hear our prayer? What must we do to make our
prayer reverent and fervent? Will God hear our prayer if we pray with haste and
distraction? What has been established for diligent and intense prayer? What is
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