SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM SPEAKS ON PRAYER

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

Saint John Chrysostom speaks on PRAYER

As Christians, we are obligated to honor and appreciate the Saints of God for two reasons. The first reason is because all the Saints had placed the hope of their spiritual salvation upon the sacred prayers. The second reason is because the prayers which they offered to God with joy and fear have been preserved in their writings, Thus their spiritual treasures, having been transmitted to us, may draw all subsequent believers toward the zeal of these Saints.

When we converse with God at the time of prayer we become similar to the Angels and dissimilar to the irrational beings. For the work par excellence of the Angels is prayer and worship. By praying with much awe and presenting themselves to us as an example, the Angels teach us to learn and to know that we must pray to God with joy and with fear. We must pray both with fear of being found unworthy of the prayer which connects us with God, but also with fulness of joy for the magnitude of honor that is bestowed upon the human race through the very possibility of prayer. Divine Providence has made us capable of enjoying constant communion with God, through which we appear not to be mortal and transient. Even though by nature we are mortal, it is through our conversation with God that we are transformed into immortal life. For the one who holds a conversation with God must be by necessity above death and every moral and spiritual corruption. And by the same token, as it is most essential for one who enjoys the rays of the sun to be free of darkness, so also the one who enjoys conversation with God must no longer be mortal, precisely because the magnitude of this honor transfers us into the realm o spiritual immortality. It is impossible for those who pray and speak to God to have mortal souls. The death of the soul is precisely impiety and sinful life, while the life of the soul is the worship of God and a way of life in the believer that is becoming to such worship.

For the one who does NOT pray to God and does NOT desire to enjoy constantly this conversation with God IS INDEED DEAD, WITHOUT A LIVING SOUL, and CERTAINLY WITHOUT PRUDENCE. The greatest sign of folly and imprudence is for us humans to be unaware of the magnitude of the honor we have received from God; to not love prayer, and to not regard the neglect of the worship of God as THE VERY DEATH OF THE SOUL. For, I believe, as our body without the soul is dead and foul, so also by the same token the soul, without prayer, is dead and miserable and foul.

It is, therefore, obvious to all that without prayer it is entirely impossible to cultivate virtue and live out a virtuous life. For how can anyone be virtuous who does not pray and does not always bow reverently to the Provider and Giver of virtue? How will anyone desire to be prudent and righteous if one does not converse with delight with the One Who demands from us not only prudent and righteousness but also so much more? I want to demonstrate briefly that even if our prayers find us with many sins, they will quickly cleanse us.

Prayer does not only cleanse us from sin, but it also protects us from great dangers. Truly the king and Prophet David, avoided many difficult wars through prayer, precisely because he gave prayer precedence as the only weapon of his army. a weapon that permitted his soldiers to enjoy victory readily and without fear.

Real prayer, however, will also purify the soul from our sins. This we are taught by the story of the Publican in the Gospel (Luke 18:9-14), who beseeched God to show mercy on him and to forgive his sins, and who was really granted this grace. We are taught the same thing by the leper, who was cleansed when he turned to God in repentance (Matthew 8:1-4). For if the destroyed body was healed by God immediately, even more readily will He heal an ailing soul as one Who loves mankind. Inasmuch as the soul is more precious than the body, it is more appropriate for God to show greater concern for the health of the soul. One could include many other examples from the Old and the New Testaments if one were to number all those who were saved through prayer.

This is why we must pray and worship God when we rise from our bed before the dawn of the sun, when we are about to have our meals, and when we prepare to recline for sleep. We must at every moment offer a prayer to God. If anyone should be found to be barren of any prayer, such a person is readily drawn by the demons and guided toward sins and misfortunes and many other evil things.

Since we fear all these evil things and want to be protected from them, let us guard ourselves with the holy prayers, so that God may have mercy upon us all and make us worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven through His Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Whose power and glory will endure until the end of the ages. Amen. [Source: A Prayer Book. An Anthology of Orthodox Prayers by Father Peter A. Chamberas)

________________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +



With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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