Pray at all times and in all places

'Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit' (Eph 6:18)

Speaking of the necessity of prayer, the Apostle indicates here how we must pray in order to be heard. Pray, he says, 'with all prayer and supplication', in other words, very ardently, with pain n the heart and a burning striving towards God. And pray, he says, 'always', at any time; by this he urges us to pray persistently and indefatigably. Prayer must not be simply an occupation for a certain time, but a permanent state of the spirit.
Make sure, say St. John Chrysostom, that you do not limit your prayer merely to a particular part of the day. Turn to prayer at any time, as the Apostle says in another place: 'Pray without ceasing' (1 Thess. 5:17). Thirdly, Paul tells us to pray 'in the spirit': in other words prayer must be not only outward, but also inner, an activity of the mind in the heart. In this lies the essence of prayer, which is the raising of the mind and heart towards God.

The Holy Fathers make a distinction, however, between prayer of the mind in the heart and prayer moved by the Spirit. The first is the conscious action of the praying man, but the second comes to a man; and although he is aware of it, it works by itself independently of his efforts. This second kind of prayer, moved by the Spirit, is not something that we can recommend people to practice, because it does not lie in our power to achieve it. We can desire it, seek it, and receive it gratefully, but we cannot arrive at it whenever we want to. But in those who are purified {who have reached a state of total sanctification}, prayer is most generally moved by the Spirit. Therefore we must suppose that the Apostle refers to prayer of the mind in the heart when he says: 'Pray in the spirit.' One can add, pray with the mind in the heart with the desire of attaining to prayer moved by the Spirit. Such a prayer holds the soul consciously before the face of the ever-present God. Attracting the divine ray towards itself, and reflecting this same ray from itself, it disperses the enemies. One can say with certainty that no devils can draw near to the soul in such a state. Only in this way can we pray at any time, in any place.

St. Theophan the Recluse
The Art of Prayer


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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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