On Prayer XXXII: Life is Impossible Without Prayer

In prayer one needs to be absolutely honest. Here there can’t be anything ambiguous or artificial. We need to stand before God as we are and say to Him what needs to be said, what we are thinking and feeling. Therefore, for communion with God there’s no need to think up a special language, to look for special words, or to choose special topics. We should pray to God for what our heart is asking and yearning for.
Final installment of a series on prayer by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

Continued from part XXXI.

To sum up our talk about prayer: prayer is above all a conversation with God, an encounter with Him; it’s a dialogue that involves not only our own words addressed to God, but also God’s answer. Therefore it’s important that we not only be able to speak, but also to be silent, so that we can listen to those Divine depths that are revealed to us through prayer.

In prayer one needs to be absolutely honest. Here there can’t be anything ambiguous or artificial. We need to stand before God as we are and say to Him what needs to be said, what we are thinking and feeling. Therefore, for communion with God there’s no need to think up a special language, to look for special words, or to choose special topics. We should pray to God for what our heart is asking and yearning for.

One needs to pray continuously. It isn’t enough to pray from time to time, only when we need something from God; we should be always praying: morning, evening, and over the course of the day and our entire life. And at the center of our prayer shouldn’t be anything specific that we’re asking for from God, but God Himself, because the main content of prayer is always our encounter with God, the possibility of discovering Him for ourselves.

We should pray not only for ourselves, but also for others; not only for our relatives and friends, but for our enemies. We should pray to God not as isolated individuals, but as people who represent a portion of humanity, addressing God not only on our own behalf, but also on behalf of the one human family, for God is the Heavenly Father of each one of us.

We pray not only to God, but also to the Mother of God and the saints because they are our heavenly protectors, our heavenly intercessors. We pray to our Guardian Angel that he would guard us in all our ways.

We pray not only for the living, but also for the departed, that the Lord would grant them peace and repose.

Once again I’d like to emphasize that prayer should be the foundation of our life, that upon which our whole life should be configured. The Christian life should correspond to prayer. If one is unsuccessful in prayer, it means that one is living wrongly, that one’s spiritual condition doesn’t correspond to prayer.

Let us learn to pray; let us work so that prayer would reach our heart and, through our heart, ascend to the heavenly heights to reach God. Let us work on ourselves, that prayer would become the core and foundation of our life. Let us ask God, the Mother of God, and the saints, that they would teach us to pray, because life without prayer is impossible, just as it’s impossible to live and be saved without God and His Church.

Translated from the Russian

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