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“According to St. John Chrysostom, the violent who take the Kingdom by force are those who have such earnest desire for Christ that they let nothing stand between themselves and faith in Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 11:12)

“If you do not feel like praying, you have to force yourself. The Holy Fathers say that prayer with force is higher than prayer unforced. You do not want to but force yourself:  “The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force” (Matt. 11:12). (St. Ambrose of Optina, Fr. Basil)

“In the Gospel, the Lord reminded His disciples, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” In commenting on this Gospel passage Saint John of Kronstadt notes, “If you only pray when you are inclined to, you will completely cease praying; this is what the flesh desires. The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence. You will not be able to work out your salvation without forcing yourself.” This is particularly true regarding frequent attendance at church services.” (Bishop Thomas, Peter Schweitzer, Saint John of Kronstadt)

“Prayer is not an issue of temperament. This is why it only comes by force. A person forces himself, and it is given to him. Indeed, it is given to him as a gift from above! Likewise, if one waits to be overcome with a desire for prayer in order to pray, then he will never pray. Prayer with desire is in general psychological prayer with no spiritual value. The basic desire for prayer, or you could say spontaneous prayer, only comes with strength and grace from the Most High. The beginning of prayer is not like this. Zeal for prayer might arise in the soul after encountering a person praying or after hearing or reading words about prayer that move the heart, and then when he begins to pray his interest quickly ceases and he finds prayer monotonous and dry. If he goes back, he loses it and if he stays firm and constant then he arrives at true prayer that spreads its roots in his soul, little by little, until it reaches its depths!” (Fr. Touma Bitar)

“History teaches us that the early Christians became a force that was irresistible; they conquered the might of the Roman Empire and its vast armies. Although they did not possess a single weapon, they were able to change the course of human history. When we seek to discover the secret of this outstanding achievement, we learn that it is extremely simple; they merely expressed their faith in the deeds of their everyday lives. In doing so, they taught us that a faith that is meaningful and relevant must be a faith that works and expresses itself in daily living. One of the strongest evidences that we can offer for the relevance of Christianity to a suffering and needy world, is the good that we do because of our own relationship with Christ.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)


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