In prayer, perseverance and patience are necessary

– Geronda, sometimes when I pray to God about a problem and it doesn’t get resolved, I question whether God hears my prayer.

– When you question, it means you doubt God’s love, and in doing so, you nullify your request the moment you make it, losing your place in line.

– Geronda, should I persist when I ask something from God and He doesn’t grant it?

– Yes, you should persist. You see, even when we visit an office seeking help for a problem, we sometimes insist to be served. We say, “Please assist me. I won’t leave until you help me.” Similarly, in prayer, we must persevere, just as the Canaanite woman persisted with Christ [1] and the widow with the unjust judge [2].

– But when time passes and I don’t receive an answer, I become disheartened.

– When we make requests in our prayers, we must patiently wait. Once, I had a swollen and painful eye. I went to the icon of the Mother of God three times, asking for healing so that I could read the Psalms during the nights. I even took a little oil from her vigil lamp and applied it to my eye, but it didn’t heal. After a few days, the situation worsened. My eye was even more swollen, and the pain intensified. This went on for fifteen days. Then, I returned to the icon of the Mother of God and said, “Mother of God, forgive me for bothering you again.” I took a bit more oil from the vigil lamp, and as soon as I touched it to my eye, I was healed. Could the Mother of God not have healed my eye from the very first day? However, perhaps she saw something wrong and allowed me to endure the suffering. So, pray with humility and patiently wait. Prayer that is offered with faith, pain, perseverance, and patience is heard, especially when what we ask for is for our own good.

[1] See Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:25-30.
[2] See Luke 18:2-8.

Excerpt from On Prayer – Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Evanghelismos Publishing.

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