Whoever loves the Lord remembers Him always, and
this memory of the Lord gives birth to prayer. If you do not remember the Lord,
you will not pray; in the absence of prayer the soul languishes without the
love of God. For it is through prayer that we feel the grace of the Holy
Spirit. Prayer saves man from sin, for a praying mind is busy with God and
stands in humility before the Lord, whom the soul recognizes.
Prayer is given to those who pray, as the
Scriptures say, but prayer offered only by force of habit, without heartfelt
sorrow for sins, is not pleasing to the Lord. A loving soul cannot abstain from
prayer, for it strives to reach Him through the grace which it feels by means
For prayer we have been given churches, in which
services are conducted according to books, but you cannot take a church with
you, and even books are not always available, whereas internal prayer is with
you always and in all places. Holy rites are performed in churches in the
presence of the Holy Spirit, but the soul is the best church of God, and
whoever prays in the soul knows the world as his church. But this is not for everyone.
Many pray aloud and like to pray from books, and
this is good, and the Lord accepts their prayers and has mercy on them. But if
someone should pray to the Lord and be thinking of something else, this prayer
will not be heard. Whoever prays through habit has no change in prayer, but
whoever prays with feeling has many changes: there is a struggle with the
enemy, a struggle with oneself, with passions, a struggle with others, and one
must remain hearty. Many like to read good books, and this is commendable, but
prayer is best.
If your mind wishes to pray in your heart and
cannot, then read the prayer aloud and keep your mind on the words of the
prayer, as the "Ladder" recommends. In time, the Lord will give you
prayer of the heart without interfering thoughts, and prayer will become easy.
Some have damaged their hearts by forcing their minds to pray in their hearts
and have even reached a point where their mouths could not say the words. Know
the order of religious life: gifts are given to a simple, humble, attentive
soul. Whoever is obedient is sparing in everything: food, words, acts; to these
the Lord gives prayer, and it repeats easily in the heart.
Unceasing prayer derives from love and is lost
through passing judgment, idle talk and intemperance. Whoever loves God might
think about Him day and night, because no activities can stand in the way of
loving God. The Apostles loved God and the world did not stand in their
way, though they understood the world, and prayed for it, and preached.
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