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Penetrating Prayer

Seize with Violence “If you pray only when you are inclined to, you will cease praying altogether; this is what the flesh desires. The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence. You will not be able to work out your salvation without forcing yourself…It is necessary continually to force ourselves to truth and goodness; when praying, we must every moment force ourselves to pronounce each word with power, truly from the heart…We must say the words of the prayer in such a way that they persuade ourselves: if they are persuasive to us, they will also be persuasive to God.” Don’t Give In “Do not indulge your slothful flesh during prayer. Do not hurry. The flesh, growing weary and oppressed by the holy work, hastens to finish praying, in order to rest, or to occupy itself with worldly or carnal matters. Be assured, if you hurry over your prayers to give rest to your body, you will lose both spiritual and bodily rest. What labour, sweat and tears, are needed that our hearts may approach God…Do not hurry; say and do everything calmly. You will succeed.” Pray With Deliberate Slowness “You want to finish your rule of prayer quickly, in order to rest your weary body? Pray fervently, and you will enjoy peaceful, calm and healthy sleep. Do not hurry, then; nor say your prayers anyhow – by half an hour’s prayer you will gain three whole hours of the soundest sleep…Do not be negligent in prayer; address God throughout your prayer from your whole heart, for it is a duty you owe to him. Having put your hand to the plough, do not look back.” Seize the Morning “The inner man, amidst worldly vanity, amidst the darkness of his flesh, is not so bound by the tempting devices of the evil one, and looks out more freely, early in the morning just after waking up, as a fish sometimes throws itself up playfully on the surface of the water…Take advantage of these morning hours, which are the hours of a new life.” Confess Your Sins Before Praying “When praying in the evening, do not forget to confess to the Holy Spirit, in really sincere and contrite prayer, those sins into which you have fallen during the past day.” Intentional Prayer “When you pray, keep to the rule that is better to say five words from the depth of your heart than ten thousand words with your tongue only. When you observe that your heart is cold and prays unwillingly, stop praying and warm your heart by representing vividly to yourself your own wickedness, your spiritual poverty, misery and blindness, or the great benefits which God bestows every moment upon you and all mankind, especially upon Christians; and then pray slowly and fervently.” Prayer in Presence “When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Holy Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; and so do all the angels, including your own guardian, and all the saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are all its rays. Try to understand what this means. Bear in mind with whom you are conversing. Men often forget with whom they are conversing during prayer, and who are the witnesses of their prayer.

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