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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