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Prayer (Being Prayer and Living Prayer)

“Prayer is an encounter with God. It’s not just a question of sacred duty, not some kind of religious obligation, and even less is it something we do just to expel evil from ourselves and invoke good… Prayer is a great encounter, because two great mysteries meet in it: God and the human heart, which, according to the Church Fathers, is an incredible and inexplicable mystery… a Christian must not only pray. He must reach the state where his life becomes prayer.” (Fr. Charalampos Papadopoulos)

“When I prayed with my heart, everything around me seemed delightful and marvelous. The trees, the grass, the birds, the earth, the air, the light seemed to be telling me that they existed for man’s sake, that they witnessed to the love of God for man, that everything proved the love of God for man, that all things prayed to God and sang his praise.” (The Way of the Pilgrim)

“We do not pray in order for God to know our needs, but to purify our hearts through prayer, and to become worthy of the mercies of God, to enter with our spirit into inner communion with God. This communion with God is the goal of prayer…If we understood the true nature of prayer – our communion with God – we would find every possible occasion to pray. When we enter into prayer in the presence of God, we take our place among the righteous. We become God’s salt and God’s light.” (Archbishop Averky Taushev, Father Stephen Freeman)

“Prayer is the union of a finite being with God, Whose nature is infinite and Whose existence is eternal. By it, the substance of the former is made holy, and the image of the latter is made more clearly manifest in the human race.” (Bishop Irenei Steenberg)

“Prayer is a true encounter with God that has practical, not theoretical results. The goal is not simply to pray, but as the Holy Fathers say, to become prayer ourselves… Prayers alone aren’t enough, hence they’re incomplete. I’m not saying they’re bad, but they’re not enough. Of course, a man begins with Compline, the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos, prayer canons, and he does all this at home with a prayer rope in his hands, but the point to doing all this is to unite with God, and with God’s grace to become a man who doesn’t merely say prayers, but becomes prayer himself. Perhaps you’re already asking yourself what that means. It means to see God’s presence everywhere, in everything and everyone, to sense the sacredness of God’s presence, the sacred sense of God’s presence; then everything can become a cause for doxology, prayers, and union with God. That’s what the saints did.” (Fr. Charalampos Papadopoulos)

“Brother Chris told the story about a woman at his skete who was very intent on saying the Jesus Prayer constantly. She went to the garage while saying her prayer, got into her car while saying it, and backed out. But she forgot to open the garage door. She misunderstood what praying without ceasing meant. Praying without ceasing is more about becoming prayer than constantly saying prayers with our lips. It’s about being fully in the present and fully focused on what we are doing. Emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, cooking, tutoring our child, listening to our spouse, working at job, can all be ways to be prayer if we focus attentively and immerse ourselves in the present moment willingly and lovingly. This is exemplary of a prayerful heart that brings glory to God.” (Brother Chris, Sacramental Living Ministries)

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed…It can happen that when we are at prayer some brothers come to see us. Then we have to choose either to interrupt our prayer or to sadden our brother by refusing to answer him. But love is greater than prayer. Prayer is one virtue among others, whereas love contains them all." (Brother Lawrence St. John Climacus)

“Unceasing prayer leads to the acquisition of faith, because he who prays unceasingly begins gradually to feel the presence of God.” (The Art of Prayer)

“The beginnings of prayer reside in the desire of the heart to know God…When we pray, we must do so from the heart, for God is the Lord of the heart. He is the center of the life of every living being.” (Bishop Irenei Steenberg, Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“In order to offer a simple caring presence and to be a friend to others in need we must also seek to have a prayerful sense of self.” (Robert J. Wicks)

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