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Common Prayer

Tues­day. [I Thess. 1:6-10; Luke 11:1-10] The Lord gave a com­mon prayer for ev­ery­one, com­bin­ing in it all of our needs, spir­i­tu­al and bodi­ly, in­ner and out­er, eter­nal and tem­po­ral. But since it is im­pos­si­ble to in­clude ev­ery­thing which one has to pray to God a­bout in life in on­ly one prayer, a rule is giv­en af­ter the com­mon prayer for pri­vate re­quests a­bout some­thing: Ask, and it shall be giv­en you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be o­pened un­to you. So it is done in the Church of God: Chris­tians pray in com­mon a­bout com­mon needs, but each pri­vate­ly sets his own needs and re­quire­ments be­fore the Lord. We pray in com­mon in church­es ac­cord­ing to es­tab­lish­ed rites, which are noth­ing oth­er than the Lord’s Prayer which has been ex­plain­ed and pre­sent­ed in var­i­ous ways; while pri­vate­ly, at home, ev­ery­one asks the Lord a­bout his own things in what­ev­er way he can. Even in church one can pray a­bout one’s own con­cerns, and at home one can pray with a com­mon prayer. We must con­cern our­selves a­bout on­ly one thing: that when we stand at prayer, at home or in church, we have true prayer in our soul, true turn­ing and lift­ing up of our mind and heart to God. Let ev­ery­one do this as he is able. Do not stand like a stat­ue, and do not mut­ter the pray­ers like a street or­gan wound up, play­ing songs. As long as you stand like that, and as long as you mum­ble the pray­ers, you are with­out prayer, the mind wan­der­ing and the heart full of vain feel­ings. If you al­ready stand in prayer and are ad­just­ed to it, is it dif­fi­cult for you to draw your mind and heart there as well? Draw them there, even if they have be­come un­yield­ing. Then true prayer will form and will at­tract God’s mer­cy, and God’s prom­ise to prayer: ask and it will be giv­en, it will be ful­fill­ed. Of­ten it is not giv­en be­cause there is no pe­ti­tion, but on­ly a pos­ture of pe­ti­tion­ing.

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