The Fruit of Unceasing Prayer



(1Th 5:17)  Pray without ceasing.

Through unceasing prayer the ascetic attains true spiritual poverty:
learning to ask unceasingly for God's help, he gradually loses trust in himself. If he does something successfully, he sees in it not his own success but God's mercy, for which he prays to God unceasingly. Unceasing prayer leads to the acquisition of faith, because he who prays unceasingly begins gradually to feel the presence of God. This feeling little by little grows and increases to such a degree that the spiritual eye sees God in His Providence more clearly than the physical eye sees material objects in the world; and then the heart knows by immediate experience the presence of God. He who has seen God in such a manner and has felt His presence thus, cannot fail to believe in Him with a living faith, which will be shown forth in deeds.

Unceasing prayer overcomes evil through hope in God, it leads a man into a holy simplicity, weaning his mind from its habit of diversity in thought, and from devising plans about himself and his neighbors, keeping him always in scantiness and humility of thoughts. This composes his training. He who prays ceaselessly gradually loses the habit of wandering thoughts, of distraction, of being filled with vain worries, and the more deeply this training in holiness and humility enters the soul and takes root in it, the more he loses these habits of mind. Finally he becomes as a child, as he is commanded in the Gospel, and is made a fool for Christ's sake, that is, he loses the false reason of the world, and receives from God a spiritual understanding.

By unceasing prayer curiosity, mistrustfulness and suspicion are destroyed, and because of this other people begin to seem good in our eyes. From such a mortgage of the heart in their favor, love of mankind is born. He who prays without ceasing dwells constantly in the Lord, knows the Lord as God, acquires fear of Him, by fear enters into purity, and by purity into divine love. The love of God fills him with the gifts of the Spirit, whose temple he is.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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