Any spiritually sensitive person recognizes that his
existence and all the good things which he uses are the result of Godís
goodness. This awareness gives rise to the need to thank God. "Bless
the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name" (Ps.
103:1 [LXX 102:1]). "All that is within me" refers to the totality of
all the qualities of soul, all the noblest and best faculties of man, which are
called to take part in glorifying the Lord. This leads to the glorification of
the Lord in the church by means of reading, singing, painting and various other
artistic gifts ó by everything which contributes to the majesty of the divine
What should we pray about?
Prayer is a conversation with God, similar to a
conversation with other people. What do we talk to other people about? We
express our thoughts and feelings; we ask for help; we learn by listening to
others; we offer gratitude and praise; we beg for forgiveness. A similar
conversation takes place in the house of God. The fundamental elements which
comprise this conversation are: 1) giving thanks and glory to God; 2)
repentance for our sins and for our failure to fulfill our Christian duty; 3)
asking for help, for deliverance from illnesses and dangers, for salvation, and
offering prayers for one another, for the Church, for our country, for the
whole world. One particular form of our prayer for other people is prayer for
our deceased fathers, brothers, sisters, for their forgiveness and repose.
In almost all forms of prayer we can see the union
of the various elements of prayer. Our petitions to God are joined with our
repentance, our thanksgiving, our adoration.
"Prayer in the
church gives consolation to all. It moves us to repentance for our sins, to
compunction, to amendment of life, to a life of virtue. It requires the fruits
of repentance. It reminds us of the dread Judgment Day, drawing a picture of
the Lordís terrible tribunal, at which all the world will be judged. It sets
before us the horrid corruption of our sinfulness, from which we cannot be
freed without the Saviour, without the medicine of faith, without the
sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, without fasting, tears, acts of
mortification of the flesh and almsgiving.
services instruct, comfort, nourish, heal and strengthen Christian souls. They
elevate and bring joy to a Christianís spirit. They are a heavenly treasure on
earth, given to us by our merciful Lord and Redeemer. They are a treasure-trove
of all blessings, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit; they are the treasury of
all the energies needed for life and piety, of all the virtues worthy of
emulation in people and of exemplary lessons" (St John of Kronstadt,
Thoughts on the Divine Services).
When we turn to God for help, we also ask the
Saints to pray for us, since they stand closer to God than we do.
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