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Prayer and God's Will

“…when someone cries out: “God, help me!” God immediately comes to help him. But not all our desires are good. And since our desires lead to evil, to the destruction of our souls, then God is slow to help. And it may happen that He doesn’t help you for your own good! When we ask for something and our request corresponds to the will of God, and He, as God, knows that when He fulfills your request, you’ll keep your word and stay near to Him, He immediately helps you. For only God is without deceit, and only God possesses goodness. But sometimes we see that when we ask for something that is unto our own destruction, God doesn’t give it to us. Why? Because He loves us.” (Elder Dionisie Ignat)


“We humans have a proclivity to want things to turn out the way we wish they would. And the Fathers blame our self-will for many of our sorrows, our anger, raging, disbelief and despondency. Many saints remind us that our task is to do God’s will, not to attempt to coerce God into doing our will. As the Lord Jesus Himself prayed: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). And He taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“Often when I have prayed I have asked for what I thought was good, and persisted in my petition, stupidly importuning the will of God, and not leaving it to Him to arrange things as He knows is best for me. But when I have obtained what I asked for, I have been very sorry that I did not ask for the will of God to be done; because the thing turned out not to be as I had thought.” (Evagrios the Solitary)


“But for our life to become prayer, in order to encounter the true, living God, we have to meet our true self. We’re strangers to ourselves. Think about how many masks we put on every day, how many roles we play every day. At work we’re in one role, at home another, with our wife a third, with our friends a fourth, and so on. We change and adapt to different roles depending on who we’re with. Therefore, authenticity is very important…” (Fr. Charalampos Papadopoulos)


“Prayer is not about pondering ideas, cultivating emotions, or mouthing words, but about being fully present to God from the depths of our souls. Doing so is absolutely necessary to know Christ and become more like Him in holiness. It is the essential foundation for accepting Christ’s healing and gaining the strength to make whatever challenges we face points of entrance into the life of the Kingdom of the Heaven. In order to know the Lord, we simply must ground our lives in prayer.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“We are taught by our Lord Jesus to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. As Christ’s disciples, we are supposed to discern God’s will and do it. However, in life we daily must make countless choices in seemingly mundane matters in which “God’s will” might not be clear or even meaningful to us. We make countless choices and plans every day and as St James notes above we should always have the mindset that we will do these mundane and social activities admitting that we rely on God’s will to accomplish any of them, and trust that God will allow the activity if it is His gracious will.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“How are you to know if you are living according to the will of God? Here is a sign: if you are distressed over anything it means that you have not fully surrendered to God’s will, although it may seem to you that you live according to His will. He who lives according to God’s will has no cares. If he has need of something he offers himself and the things he wants to God, and if he does not receive it he remains as tranquil as if he had got what he wanted. The soul that is given over to the will of God fears nothing: neither thunder nor thieves nor any other thing. Whatever may come, “Such as God’s pleasure,’ she says….And in this wise is peace preserved in soul and body.” (Archimandrite Sophrony)


“Isaiah 55:8-9 reads “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways My thoughts than your thoughts.” This is why the phrase “Thy will be done” in the Lord’s Prayer is the hardest four words of prayer that there is. These four words of Prayer acknowledge that God ways and thoughts are higher than ours. These four words of Prayer submit to the ways the thoughts of God. And that’s hard. Because we want to pray for outcomes, not for thoughts.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)


“Do not be always wanting everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases, then you will be undisturbed and thankful in your prayer…my words and prayers, and my oaths and promises, will not be fulfilled unless they are congruent with God’s will, no matter how beautiful, powerful, or truthful they may sound.” (Abba Nilus, Archpriest Steven John Belonick)


“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….Prayer is two things—it is being in the presence of God (loving God) and praying on behalf of others (loving our neighbor). As I get older, I rarely ask God for things—He’s God, He knows what I need even before I ask Him. And He blesses me even without me asking. Prayer has become how I converse with God, and even more beautiful, how I converse with God on behalf of others. One of the greatest joys in my life is the priestly ministry. And one of the greatest joys of the priestly ministry is to pray for others. Sometimes that is done in their presence, like at a meeting or when someone comes into the office. And many times it is done not in their presence.” (Father Stephen Freeman, Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)


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