The prayer is the man’s dialogue with God

The Most Pure and Most Holy Spirit may enlighten my darkness to tell you a few words about the most beautiful virtue of prayer and of soul`s purity.

And as saint Dyonisios Areopagite says, God is above spirit. Thus due to His nature, God is so huge, so widely spread all over everything that the man can be with Him in any moment and with the spirit of faith can see Him and speak with Him. No other person is so close to us all the time as it is God.

It’s such a great honor for a man to have the privilege, to be considered worthy to speak with a man of a great rank here on earth and for this he considers himself important because he has this connection, this friendship relation. But God is above all people and angels. And we all have this privilege to speak with Him and see Him through the eyes of faith.

All the hymnography of our Church, all the troparions and praises are prayers. But more important than these is this small prayer called the prayer of the mind and which comprises these words: `Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me!` With this small prayer we can communicate with God without cease. This is what saint Paul, the Apostle tells us to do: Pray without cease, give thanks for everything. [1] This is the will of God.

The hermits of the first Christian centuries lived in caves and deserts in very remote places of the earth. In those times there were no printed books like nowdays so they had nothing to read. But what did they do day and night in the desert? They had the University of the Universe, of the whole creation. From creation they raised their mind to the contemplation of the Creator of everything, God. A hermit was making a walk one day and he saw a very beautiful flower. He hit it and said: `Don’t shout so loud!` By this he wanted to say that this flower was speaking a lot about the wisdom of God. Thus if such a small flower was so wonderfully created the more wonderful is God the Creator of everything!

The Holy Fathers said that all the creatures speak each one with its own voice. But in order to reach this stage, to listen to the voice of all creatures of the earth, the man must purify his whole soul, mind and heart by spiritual and physical struggle.

Great Arsenios knew a lot about the science of the world and he was a great philosopher. But afterwards he went in the desert and secluded himself and lived a very austere life to purify his heart. He did not speak with people and did not see anyone. And this man who had been very wise in the world by his personal struggle and seclusion received the philosophy of the Spirit which is far more greater and more precious in spiritual terms than the worldly one. They say that he used to raise his hands in prayer at sunset and left them down at sunrise when the sun touched his cheek with its rays. He kept his hands raised up all night long. But how could they stay up like this? Naturally it would be extremely hard. But by the help of God everything is possible to achieve. His entire heart and mind were in rapture, in contemplation in the Holy Spirit and he was initiated in the heavenly mysteries. He communicated directly with God.

From this we understand that in order to be perfectly united with God someone needs to separate himself of the rest of the people and of the worldly worries and in the spirit of silencing his mind to be able through prayer to talk with the Spring of all happiness, God. The mind of the man is the one which leads the whole activity of his spirit. If the mind purifies itself of dirty thoughts which defile it then in time the heart will be purified too.

`Blessed are the pure in their hearts for they shall see God`[2]. And since God is not anthropomorphous to be seen with physical eyes by someone, He makes Himself known in the heart of the man, in a secret inexpressible way when the heart is purified. When the Christian prays correctly with unspread mind, meaning that his mind is humbly focused on the words of the prayer, he begins to feel the fruit of the prayer. And the fruit of such a humble prayer means that the man gets humbleness or tears or repentance or a great joy and love for God.

[1] I Tessalonians 5, 18.

[2] Matthew 5, 8.

Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation to appear at Evanghelismos.