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True PrayerPrayer

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, in-ner and out­er, eter­nal and tempo-ral. But since it is impos­si­ble to in-clude every­thing which one has to pray to God about in life in only one prayer, a rule is giv­en after the com-mon prayer for pri­vate requests a-bout 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 a-bout com­mon needs, but each pri-vately sets his own needs and re-quirements before the Lord. We pray in com­mon in church­es ac-cording 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 pray-ers like a street organ wound up, play­ing songs. As long as you stand like that, and as long as you mum-ble the prayers, you are with­out prayer, the mind wan­der­ing and the heart full of vain feel­ings. If you al-ready stand in prayer and are ad-justed 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 on-ly a pos­ture of petitioning.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse