The devil impedes the man to pray

`Geronda, where am I wrong if I have an obstacle every time I intend to keep a vigil in my cell ?`

`If God allows this impediment it means something good will come out of it.`

`Even if this happens all the time?`

`Then it means there is pride.`

`Geronda I can`t figure out if there is any pride.`

`You can figure out from the way to arrange things. If you give priority to the chores and after to the prayer, you give rights to the tempter to put obstacles in your way. If someone gives more importance to the chores than to spiritual matters isn`t it this pride?` It is pride and lack of piety.`

`Geronda what does the tempter do to impede someone who prays ?`

`What does he do ? He finds uncountable ways. Immediately after the man starts his prayer he may bring him dreams or may distracy his mind with imagination, noises and so on. Let me tell you what happened when I was at Stomiou Monastery [1]

One night I went to pray in the church. The gate of the church was closed and at the door of the church I put the lock. About midnight the devil started hitting without cease in the lock and he didn`t stop at all to make me go and see who he was. I went inside the Holy Altar and there behind the Holy Table near the Crucified One I remained until morning.

The Cross of Christ has a great power. When I was a novice, the devil fought a lot against me. In the night when I was in my cell he knocked all the time at the door and said: `for the prayers of our holy fathers.` I opened the door and although I didn`t see anybody I was overwhelmed by fear. After that I did not find my peace at all and I felt like it was impossible for me to stay in the cell longer.

I suffered, cried, prayed, but there was no avail. I went out. One evening after Compline one proestos of the monastery saw me and asked me:

`My son, why don`t you go to your cell? Do you see any monk walking out. The monks pray in their cells`

I started crying and told him what happened to me. Then he brought me a piece of wax where it was a piece from the Holy Cross and told me:

`My son, go now in peace to your cell.`

I went to my cell and immediately after I closed the door I heard someone saying loudly: `for the prayers of our holy fathers…`

When I said `amen` the door opened and a policeman dressed in his uniform came in. He wore his trimming obliquely on the sleeve as the policemen used to wear them long time ago. He started shouting at me: `You wretched man who are not even a real monk, why do you have that piece of wood?` Then he started laughing with his awful laugh. He shouted but could not approach me because I had the Holy piece of wood. I  cried `Lord Jesus Christ` and the policeman vanished.

[1] Between 1958-1962.

Excerpt from About prayer – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.

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